Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya

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  • Pizza Enzo

    • SheilaS on November 24, 2018

      I loved how the combination of toppings makes each bite is a little different - tangy sauce (super quick from canned tomatoes & olive oil), sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes, salty/umami anchovies, flavorful herbs, spicy chilis and that wisp of mortadella that practically melts over the top.

  • Bresaola salad with arugula and Parmesan

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      If you have some lovely bresaola, you know it doesn't need much to shine and this simple salad is a good example of that. This uses the Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette p 393 which is flavored with both za'atar and preserved lemon which bring a different and decidedly non-Italian seasoning to what could be a classic Italian salad plate. The dressing is easy to put together and used in several other recipes in the book so it's worth making.

  • Ricotta with date and pecan pesto

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This is super easy and delicious with the fresh, creamy ricotta (I had milk with a rapidly approaching expiration date so I made some yesterday), toasted, crunchy nuts, sweet dates, bright parsley, peppery olive oil and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar. The book plates this with the ricotta swirled into bowl, topped with the pesto and surrounded with toasted baguette slices for dipping but I turned it into crostini. This pesto isn't actually pulverized in a mortar or blender - parsley, toasted nuts and dates are chopped and mixed with Parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  • Salmon roe ikra

    • SheilaS on February 19, 2020

      This version of ikra is kind of a super-luxe fishy mayonnaise, incorporating 1/4 cup of salmon roe. Fresh vegetables are the perfect contrast to that richness. I'm looking forward to trying it on some roasted asparagus.

  • Crab cakes with preserved lemon aioli

    • SheilaS on May 20, 2018

      I've made the Preserved Lemon Aioli several times to serve with fried calamari and phyllo-wrapped asparagus. It's excellent. The recipe calls for equal parts extra virgin olive oil and canola oil and that comes out too heavy-tasting for me. I prefer 1/4 extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 neutral sunflower oil. This also works well as a half-batch. Updated after making the crab cakes, too. These are mostly crab, very little binder, so they are challenging for me to fry and flip but they are delicious. Don't skip the aioli, either!

  • Watermelon and feta salad with harissa

    • SheilaS on August 13, 2019

      I liked this a lot - cool, crisp watermelon with crunchy toasted nuts, salty feta and a harissa dressing for a little heat. I used the harissa recipe in the book which is flavorful but not searingly hot and it was perfect here.

    • lean1 on July 01, 2019

      Wonderful recipe. I loved the sweet-hot combination of flavors.

  • Fried eggplant with caramelized tomato and goat cheese

    • SheilaS on August 12, 2019

      Absolutely delicious! I tried this with both fried and baked eggplant slices and both worked well. The tomato paste-o is a great tomato pesto-like sauce and worth making all by itself.

  • Israeli salad

    • SheilaS on November 20, 2018

      The preserved lemon vinaigrette turns this basic salad into something really special.

  • Spicy scallop rolls

    • SheilaS on November 20, 2018

      Super delicious and decadent sandwich!

    • Rinshin on January 28, 2019

      Simple to make but the taste was also simple. Mostly mayo, cucumbers, mint and scallops in toasted hot dog buns. Best to not make the sauce ahead of time like I did because cucumber dices weep causing the mayo sauce to become too thin. This recipe called for hot dog buns but perhaps grilled corn tortillas or pita bread would work better here. Hot dog buns tasted strangely sweet and too gummy with the sauce.

  • Za'atar toad in the hole

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This is delicious! The bread is spread with a mayo and za'atar mixture before going into the pan where the spices toast nicely along with the bread. I'll certainly make this again.

  • Curried sweet potato and leek pie

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I modified by using a polenta crust just because I was in a polenta kinda mood. I'll try the crust in the book next time but I liked the polenta, too.

  • Whole roasted cauliflower with whipped feta

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I've made this several times now. Steaming the cauliflower in a seasoned wine broth prior to roasting infuses flavors throughout and the whipped feta/goat cheese mixture is so decadent. I've served this as a side dish or as a vegetarian main dish, accompanied by crostini topped with matbucha. Can easily be scaled down to make 1/2 a head of cauliflower to serve 2

    • sharonlafleur on August 27, 2018

      So easy. Forgot to get it started and thought I wouldn't have time but it's much quicker than I thought. Steaming first and roasting after yields perfect texture and flavor. The whipped feta is insanely delicious and suits my keto/ low carb diet so well.

    • leilx on January 14, 2019

      Easy and delicious. I didn’t think the cheese was necessary and in fact modified it and made without feta as I don’t like it.

  • Avocado toast with smoked whitefish

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I substituted smoked trout for the whitefish. Nice appetizer.

  • Charred cabbage with olive oil

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      This is delicious! Poaching the cabbage in seasoned broth before broiling infuses flavor throughout. Served with the pomegranate muhammara on p 376, this can stand on its own as a meatless main dish.

    • leilx on January 14, 2019

      I made it with a quarter head of cabbage and it worked although it never got really charred. Want to try it again. I liked it and think I could love it.

  • Preserved lemon vinaigrette

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette is flavored with both za'atar and preserved lemon which bring a different twist to the classic vinaigrette. The dressing is easy to put together and used in several other recipes in the book so it's worth making.

    • bching on January 10, 2019

      Very tasty and easy vinaigrette. It separates rapidly, though, and if I make it again, I will add a teaspoon of mustard or mayo in hopes of achieving better emulsification.

  • Shakshouka

    • lorloff on December 19, 2020

      Just like the restaurant! We made ½ the amount because there were only two of us and we had enough for two meals for two. It was delicious. I like all the vegetables in this version my husband likes a version with less vegetables. I did not have Jerusalem artichokes so I used artichoke hearts.

  • Stuffed cabbage with tomatoes and onions

    • lorloff on April 03, 2020

      I agree this is an absolutely delicious stuffed cabbage recipe I decided to try to find a lazy way to do it so I wouldn’t have to roll each cabbage roll. In Madhur Jeffrey’s World vegetarian cookbook there’s a recipe for cabbage with rice and currents which she got from a Turkish cook who did a layered cabbage instead of a stuffed cabbage so it’s like a lasagna version that’s much easier to do so I tried to use the Shaya recipe for the sauce and the stuffing with the technique suggested by Jaffrey. It worked and it was amazingly delicious I will definitely make again stuffed cabbage all the comfort food In a fraction of the time. I also served ground turkey for ground beef And soy milk for cows milk and it came out wonderfully.

    • purrviciouz on October 29, 2018

      This is my favorite stuffed cabbage recipe that I've cooked so far. I will definitely make this again and again. It's an afternoon project labor of love but worth it.

  • Farro and kale with saffron vinaigrette

    • TrishaCP on June 04, 2020

      I loved everything about this salad. I used a mix of sturdy baby greens (spinach, chard, kale) instead of straight up kale and edamame subbed for peas. The walnuts added the perfect crunch on top.

    • bwhip on April 04, 2019

      Great salad, we really enjoyed this. I used frozen peas, and I had some fresh asparagus so I added that to the mix as well. The chile de arbol added just the right amount of heat, and the flavor of the dressing was excellent. My wife doesn’t like walnuts, so I used a half cup of toasted pine nuts instead. Pretty quick, easy, and very flavorful.

    • Lsblackburn1 on June 19, 2019

      I used edamame instead of peas, zucchini instead of cucumber and skipped the radish. This was a very tasty side dish. Perfect summer dinner with grilled steak.

  • Emily's famous red beans and rice

    • TrishaCP on March 14, 2019

      This is my new standard red beans recipe. This was seriously amazing. I soaked my beans overnight but after three hours of cooking they were still pretty toothsome. So I put them in the instant pot for 5 minutes and then they were perfect. Since I halved the recipe (but couldn’t half the ham bone) my beans were seasoned just fine without additional salt. We did make the rice with onions, and it was a very welcome accompaniment.

    • PanNan on December 02, 2018

      The depth of flavor in this red beans recipe is wonderful. Taking the time to soak the beans overnight and slowly simmering them on the stove all afternoon delivers a soft and creamy texture where the ingredients have nearly melted together. Serving it over the rice topped with freshly sliced scallions takes this over the top.

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 29, 2018

      Awesome recipe for a lazy holiday week! Easy to prepare, just requires a time commitment. I may have oversalted- doesn’t need much because of the ham hock.

  • Yemenite stewed chicken

    • TrishaCP on April 21, 2019

      We absolutely loved this dish too. The brine kept the chicken incredibly moist and was well worth the extra step. I used kashsk as my whey but only had half of what was needed. I subbed water for the rest and it was fine.

    • purrviciouz on September 24, 2018

      This was absolutely delicious and will be repeated multiple times for us. I would double the carrots next time.

  • Pickled shrimp

    • bernalgirl on August 28, 2021

      I love this Italian meets Southern US approach to pickled shrimp. These are absolutely delicious, an excellent antipasto or a good addition to a salad. Since the only cooking is a light poaching, this is a great make-in-the-morning dish for a hot summer day.

  • Classic hummus with tahini

    • hirsheys on July 11, 2018

      This was good, though I made it the same night as the hummus from Zahav and it sort of paled in comparison. It's much less creamy. Tasty, though.

    • annmartina on March 18, 2018

      I've been dreaming of this hummus since we had it at Shaya in 2016. This recipe is as good as the restaurant. Like whipped cream. I blended in the Vita Mix after my food processor shut down unexpectedly.

    • pattyatbryce on January 15, 2019

      Hard to go back to store bought after this.

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 02, 2019

      I didn’t add the extra tahini so this had a lot less sesame flavor than other hummus dips. It was extremely creamy - is that a result of roasting the chickpeas? Not sure why this recipe had me do that, but it seemed to work out...

  • Arugula with citrus, olives, and za'atar

    • Yildiz100 on December 14, 2018

      This was very tasty, but somehow, I felt like it wasn't quite the sum of its parts. A simpler, orange and olive salad is better, or maybe, it was actually better without the zaatar.

  • Tarragon dumplings

    • Rinshin on January 26, 2019

      Only half of the baked dumplings were added and froze the remaining portion for other use. I did not want the paprikash to be too full. The measurement is right on. Although whole milk ricotta was used, I could not tell the richness from it. My dumplings came out bigger than the sausage balls after boiling and they all had to be cut in half before baking.

  • Fennel sausage

    • Rinshin on January 26, 2019

      Took more time to reach 60F than 30 min. At 40 min, it was registering 50F and I stopped there. I don’t think the difference in temperature made much difference since these were being baked right away. Very good method for making homemade pork sausage.

  • Hungarian paprikash

    • Rinshin on January 27, 2019

      While eating this, I kept thinking what makes this dish so extra delicious is the soup itself and not the homemade sausage or the ricotta dumplings and having this soup over rice is the way I want to have it next time using other simpler protein and vegetables (like curry rice or gumbo with rice). The taste of this soup is very rich and complex from various chilies and abundant butter. It is spicy though and my husband had to add extra sour cream to his serving but the addition of rice will take care of this next time. The vivid red color in the book is before the sour cream is added. The sour cream mutes the color but gives this soup the extra lusciousness. Photo added.

    • Nkrieda78 on January 25, 2019

      So incredible!!

  • Bulgarian lamb kebabs

    • Zosia on May 29, 2019

      These are flavourful and juicy (even without the milk powder) good, family has requested a repeat soon. I substituted beef for lamb.

    • purrviciouz on September 17, 2018

      These are fantastic. I chose the stove top method. When turning the kababs over they looked charred and crispy on the bottom but still turned out just fine. I was worried they'd burned but they just looked dark. I will absolutely make these again.

  • Israeli couscous with summer vegetables and caramelized tomato

    • loehmichen on May 04, 2018

      Omitted Eggplant. Rather than roasting large diced squash, I small diced zucc and crookneck and sauteed each separately till brown. Sauteed onions,garlic, added fresh thyme, the tom paste then mixed in the couscous. Refrigerate over night. Reheat, garnish with fried shallots and minced basil.

  • Hawaij

    • ldtrieb on March 08, 2019

      Delicious, used on turkey breast and in the sweet potato and leek tart. Also. Yemeni chicken. Makes enough for several recipes.

  • Apple and fennel salad with candied pecans

    • kitchen_chick on June 15, 2020

      I didn’t candy the pecans because I wanted less sugar in the salad. Instead, I toasted then chopped the pecans to break them up a bit. I added the Aleppo pepper to the dressing since it wasn’t going into the candied coating.

    • Lsblackburn1 on January 02, 2019

      So fresh and delicious! The recipe says to crush the peppercorns with your fingers but that seemed like extra, so I just used a mortar and pestle. Only change I’d make would be to chop the pecan halves up a bit to distribute them more because they were awesome!

  • Za'atar chimichurri

    • TonyInSeattle on July 12, 2019

      This was excellent... perfectly seasoned and bright. I served it with steak and it was perfect!

  • Lobster green curry

    • pattyatbryce on January 09, 2021

      This was terrific and fairly easy. I used tails - the store had pretty good-sized on sale and made the stock. Great flavor.

  • Creamy baked fennel

    • pattyatbryce on November 17, 2018

      This is everything! Comforting, flavorful, and addictive. Would be great on a holiday table, but easy enough for a Tuesday night.

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 25, 2018

      Perfect holiday side dish. Rich and delicious.

  • Tomato soup with rice

    • purrviciouz on September 17, 2018

      Seriously comforting. I served this with the Bulgarian Lamb Kababs for a complete dinner. Delicious!

  • Roasted beets with tahini

    • purrviciouz on June 17, 2020

      This is a really nice side dish. In the future I will peel the beets before roasting.

  • Jim Core's kale and andouille jambalaya

    • purrviciouz on November 12, 2018

      Incredibly rich and delicious and it's really easy to put together for a crowd. I halved the recipe for just the two of us and we'll have leftovers all week. I would double the kale next time.

  • Slow-roasted lamb shoulder

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 25, 2018

      Used a boneless leg instead of a shoulder so shortened the cooking time to about 3.5 hours. The gravy was especially delicious. Served over polenta.

  • Cherry and pistachio cookies

    • Lsblackburn1 on November 12, 2018

      Yummy! I made these on my cheap cookie sheets without the parchment and they only needed about 14 minutes.

  • Collard spanakopita

    • Lsblackburn1 on June 14, 2019

      This was a bit of work, but really delicious! I don’t think I’ve used butter on the phyllo before but it was yummy!

  • Caesar salad, 1990s style

    • Lsblackburn1 on March 30, 2019

      My store did not have boquerones, so made this without them. Still delicious. We were going for a light dinner, but actually the goat cheese and croutons made this pretty rich and filling!

  • Spiced couscous

    • Lsblackburn1 on March 31, 2019

      Lovely subtle flavors. Perfect as a base for a spicier dish.

  • Parmesan and nutmeg stuffing

    • ripleypickles on May 29, 2021

      Incredible alternative to American stuffing. More like a fluffy, cheesy quiche. Will definitely make again.

  • Caesar dressing

    • ripleypickles on January 14, 2021

      Super flavorful. Don't use olive oil as it takes over the other flavors.

  • Smoked chicken with harissa

    • ripleypickles on April 02, 2020

      Excellent recipe. Used a little more salt and a little less oil. Tip: Cut open the chiles before steeping so some of the seeds come out on their own.

  • Chicken Milanese with watercress and lemon

    • dbruijn on July 31, 2021

      It’s so good. I’ve made this multiply times for family and guests. Seems so fancy, schnitzel with a middle eastern twist. Loved it.

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52

    The book unfurls chronologically, and so it essentially urges you to follow along and cook Shaya’s life, however scattershot the recipes can seem...

    Full review
  • Food52

    It’s a memoir-meets-cookbook...the recipes in Shaya require a bit of doing, by way of ingredient sourcing and prep. But the payoff is considerable...

    Full review
  • Food52 a compelling and heartfelt food memoir that is evocative of books by some of my favorite food writers, such as Laurie Colwin, Jane Grigson, and Edna Lewis.

    Full review
  • Food52

    Picked for Food52's November 2018 Cookbook Club.

    Full review
  • Eat Your Books

    One of the most brilliant titles that I have had the pleasure to review. Everyone needs to fall in love with this book.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 0451494164
  • ISBN 13 9780451494160
  • Published Mar 13 2018
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 432
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Knopf

Publishers Text

An exciting debut cookbook that confirms the arrival of a new guru chef...A moving, deeply personal journey of survival and discovery that tells of the evolution of a cuisine and of the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. From the two-time James Beard award-winning chef whose celebrated New Orleans restaurants have been hailed as the country's most innovative and best by Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, GQ, and Esquire.

"Alon's journey is as gripping and as seductive as his cooking . . . Lovely stories, terrific food." --Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Alon Shaya's is no ordinary cookbook. It is a memoir of a culinary sensibility that begins in Israel and wends its way from the USA (Philadelphia) to Italy (Milan and Bergamo), back to Israel (Jerusalem) and comes together in the American South, in the heart of New Orleans. It's a book that tells of how food saved the author's life and how, through a circuitous path of (cooking) twists and (life-affirming) turns the author's celebrated cuisine--food of his native Israel with a creole New Orleans kick came to be, along with his award-winning New Orleans restaurants: Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica, ranked by Esquire, Bon Appetit, and others as the best new restaurants in the United States.

These are stories of place, of people, and the food that connects them, a memoir of one man's culinary sensibility, with food as the continuum throughout his journey--guiding his personal and professional decisions, punctuating every memory, choice, every turning point in his life. Interspersed, with glorious full-color photographs and illustrations that follow the course of all the flavors Shaya has tried, places he's traveled, things he's experienced, lessons he's learned--more than one hundred recipes--from Roasted Chicken with Harissa to Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts; Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Cast Iron Ribeye; Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices; Buttermilk Biscuits; and Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta.