Friday, 5 June 2009

Italian Sabich

I had a craving the other day. For Sabich. Say what? Precisely. 
The fried aubergine, French fries, hard boiled egg and salad in a tahini and Amba dripping white flour pita bread, Sabich???  I actually managed to crave a dish I never had in my life and one of the staple street- foods the Israeli cuisine has to offer. I simply never allowed myself to have it.

I like holidays mainly because of the food. Any holiday, any reason, any religion,  is a good enough a reason to prepare, cook and eat, so how convenient that this week was Shavu’ot! 

I decided to make my version of a Sabich, a la Italiana, as any attempt to cook any food in Italy undergoes a modification process in order to adapt to the available ingredient, giving any dish that local terroir  twist.

It may be a valid point that eating Mexican in a pizzaria in Crete is a syndrom of what is wrong with our food culture, but cook any dish particular to a place outside of its context and you have just fused 2 food cultures to an honest expression of a new reality. For example, lets take Indian food. I already did this week. Parma is known for its cuisine, as long as its Parmesan cuisine. Steer away to a side road in search of other food and you’re in no man’s land. On Friday Kate and I decided to splash out and get an Indian take out from THE Indian restaurant. The only one.

We walked in and ordered the dishes we recited excitedly on our way, as this was going to be a festive fiesta of curry and rice, spinach and paneer, dahl and chapatti, whatever the cost.

The menu states Indian dishes that are made to fit the Italian perception of food. Primi, primi secondo, main course, etc. again, strange. Its almost unlikely Italians go here, and if they did, surely they understand and for that reason go to, an Indian restaurant, in which they will not be served anything remotely close to Italian food. And yet the menu is dressed up in Italian outfit, made to feel familiar and less intimidating..

We took our dinner home, aluminum take-out containers, wrapped in cling film and then foil, clearly, this system has room for improvement. We ate our dinner with a good wine from Piedmont, as this was a special dinner. An Indian Take-out dinner. This was a ‘good china dinner’. A take- out curry put on a pedestal.

How removed an experience is this from a curry take-out in London, or NY? It’s the parallel universe of the order of things, turned inside out and spoken in Italian.

sabich, Essentially, a meal in a bread. 

the Ingredients required for a self assembly of a Sabich are as follows:

A flour tortilla

A chopped salad (copped tomatoes, cucumbers, raw onion, parsley seasoned with S/P, olive oil and lemon)

Olive oil Roast potatoes ( my method involves steaming potatoes in their own juices, then roasting them in sizzling olive oil, seasoned with S/P and paprika.)

Hard-boiled egg, sliced

Roasted aubergine salad


Sriracha chili sauce

Once all the ingredient are prepared, pile them on the tortilla. You should be looking as a colorful assembly of goodness. There is no way you can fold it close, so give up trying, improvise a way to lift it of the plate, and reach out to it.

I don’t know what the real stuff tastes like, but I have satisfied my craving for it. 

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