Edamame Kuku + Caramelized Turnips
Post by Anna
A little over a month ago, Molly and I scaled up our little weeknight kitchen operation for a five-course, two seating pop-up dinner with our friends at The Gefilteria. One exploded kugel, six gallons of celery syrup, and a fridge full of dirt later, we learned a lot about what it takes to put on a restaurant-style dinner in a weekend. Spoiler alert: you have to be good at a lot of things besides cooking with leftovers.
Molly and I woke up the next morning exhausted and reeking of onions, and I no longer had any feeling in the tip of my right thumb (I still don’t). Still, we were thrilled that we pulled it off.
The sold out evening made the news, and plenty of folks reached out to say how much they enjoyed seeing the community come out to celebrate Ashkenazi cuisine, the less-celebrated half of our Jewish food heritage.
The only thing missing was our true bread and butter: leftovers.
Cooking for ourselves and our friends, Molly and I had never put together a grocery budget in the hundreds, or measured out butter in pounds. Pouring gallons of tomato sauce into what appeared to be a slop bucket, I fantasized about all of the excess we might be left with, and what we might do with it.
In the end, everything got eaten except a giant bushel of herbs and a bag of turnips. And when life hands you herbs, make a kuku.
A kuku is a Persian egg dish, well-loved among Iranian Jews. Like many Persian dishes, it is a refined take on something as simple and familiar as an omelette, packed with herbs and Persian spices. In Jerusalem, Yotam Ottolenghi’s version is sweetened with barberries and bulked up with fava beans. We used currants (leftover from schneken), feta, and edamame from my freezer. The result was a thin frittata-esque round, thatched with green herbs.
Searching for a recipe online, I stumbled across another edifying Persian dish – candied turnips.
Falling back on the experience that anything fried and then slowly caramelized in sugar cannot be bad, we gave it a shot. Paired with the sweet-and-salty kuku, it was a dinner worth eating for lunch the next day.
We adapted the recipe from Jerusalem, swapping sugar for turmeric. You could easily add whatever legumes, dried fruit, or herbs you have on hand.
Prep: 25 minutes / Cook: 20-25 minutes / Serves: 8 as a side / Adapted from Jerusalem
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1 cup edamame beans, shelled
- 1/3 cup currants
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1/4 tsp saffron threads
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots or 2 small onions
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 7 medium eggs
- 1 tbsp AP flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup dill, chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, chopped
- 1/8 cup coriander (cilantro), chopped
- 1/4 of a jalapeño pepper, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
WHAT YOU DO:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Place saffron threads, milk, and 2 T water in a saucepan. Remove from heat, let stand for 20 minutes.
- Place currants in a small bowl of boiling water until plump. Strain after 10 minutes.
- In a frying pan, heat 3 tbsp olive oil and add onions. After 2 minutes, add garlic. Cook on medium until translucent, about 5 minutes, careful not to let the garlic burn.
- Add edamame, cook until soft and lightly charred, set aside.
- Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl until frothy.
- Add saffron cream, flour, baking powder, herbs, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
- When dry ingredients are incorporated, add currants and onion mixture.
- Add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to an oven-safe frying pan, and place in the hot oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove, pour the egg mixture in, return to oven covered with a lid, for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove lid, bake for another 20 minutes, or until set.