Lamb Shwarma

Ingredients
Shawarma Spice Blend #1 for Red Meat (page 150):

2½ tablespoons
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 (4-pound) boneless lamb shoulder, butterflied
2 tablespoons canola oil

Method of Preparation:
Mix the Spice Blend and salt in a small bowl. Rub this mixture all over the lamb, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 450°F. Roll up the lamb and tie it with butcher’s twine. Put the lamb on a baking sheet or roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275°F and roast for another 2½ to 3 hours, rotating every 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the lamb registers 160°F. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

Wrap the lamb tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight to make the lamb easier to slice. To serve the Shawarma, unwrap the lamb and slice it against the grain as thinly as you can. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Fry the sliced lamb for about 3 minutes, or until it’s hot and slightly crispy.


Method of Preparation:
Shawarma Spice Blend #1 FOR RED MEAT
Makes about 1 cup

Combine ½ cup ground sumac, ¼ cup smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 2 tablespoons onion powder, and 1 tablespoon cayenne in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a covered jar.

Cauliflower Shawarma
Serves 6

For a dramatic vegetable “shawarma” option, we rub a whole head of cauliflower with a sweet and savory spice blend headlined by baharat, then oven-roast it. But first we soak the cauliflower in a spiced brine to season the interior. Served whole with Quick Tehina Sauce (page 145) on the side, this bronzed brassica makes an impressive centerpiece. You can also cool it down, then sear the florets in a cast-iron pan to make a vegan shawarma sandwich, piling the seared florets into a waiting pita with all the shawarma fixings.

Ingredients:
2 quarts water
2 cups kosher salt
2 tablespoons Shawarma Spice Blend #3 for Vegetables (page 150)
1 (1½- to 2-pound) head cauliflower, leaves removed
4 tablespoons canola oil

Method of Preparation:
Mix together the water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the Shawarma Spice Blend in a large pot. Warm over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the salt is fully dissolved. Let the mixture cool completely. Brine the cauliflower in the spiced water for 2 hours at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. When the brining time is almost up, add 2 tablespoons of the canola oil to the remaining Spice Blend in a small bowl and stir well to form a paste. Remove the cauliflower from the brine, shake it off, then rub most of the spice paste over it, saving a spoonful for searing, if you like. Transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes, or until browned and tender.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven, let it cool a little, then carve and serve like the juicy roast it is. Or cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets, transfer to a large bowl, and add the remaining canola oil and the reserved spice paste. Toss well. Sear the florets in a very hot cast-iron pan for 3 to 4 minutes, or until nicely charred.

Method of Preparation:
Shawarma Spice Blend #3 for Vegetables
Makes about 1 cup
Combine ¼ cup each ground turmeric, ground cumin, ground fenugreek, and ground cinnamon with 1 tablespoon each ground allspice and ground black pepper in a small bowl and mix well. Store in a covered jar.


LAMB SHOULDER SHAWARMA is excerpted from ISRAELI SOUL © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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CAULIFLOWER SHAWARMA is excerpted from ISRAELI SOUL © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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Following on their wildly successful Zahav, Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook embrace the informal, varied, boisterous, and simple food of a nation in ISRAELI SOUL: Easy, Essential, Delicious (out October 16, 2018; Rux Martin Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Timed for the anniversary of a country that will be just 70 years old, the book not only shows how the food has shaped the soul of Israel but also brings that deliciousness home to the American kitchen. Within these pages, readers will find meals in the hand like falafel; the juicy, grilled, and roasted spice-rubbed meats called shawarma; a wealth of chopped salads; a flotilla of kebabs; crispy chicken schnitzel; flatbreads and filled breads; pastries; ice creams; fruit-and herb-infused seltzers; and tehina shakes.