Israeli-Australian chef Rantissi grew up in Tel Aviv watching his mum cook and feasting on the Middle Eastern flavours of harissa, hummus, falafel, labneh, broad beans and lamb.
In 2005, he arrived in Sydney, where he joined the kitchen at The Bathers’ Pavilion as a sous chef, but he has moved away from fine dining to the food of his childhood at Kepos Street Kitchen and the recently opened Kepos & Co, which he runs with partner Kristy Frawley.
Living in Sydney has helped Rantissi lighten and brighten traditional recipes, and it is these original recipes that the couple have included in their recently published book Falafel for Breakfast.
“If my mother knew I was serving falafel for breakfast – and people were loving it – she would be amazed,” he writes.
Here, Rantissi shares a Middle Eastern-inspired lamb burger recipe.
Lamb Burgers with Middle Eastern Coleslaw
“Including your guests in the preparation of a meal is a great way to entertain, and these burgers are ideal for a lunch party where you get the ingredients ready beforehand, and lay them on the table for all to make their own.”
750g good-quality coarse minced lamb
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
1 handful coriander, leaves finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons red harissa (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
4 tablespoons aïoli, to serve (see recipe below)
4 brioche burger buns, toasted
Middle Eastern coleslaw, to serve (see recipe below)
Put the minced lamb, coriander seeds, chopped coriander, olive oil, 4 tablespoons of harissa and the chilli flakes in a large bowl. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix to combine.
Divide the meat mixture into four equal portions and gently shape into burger patties with your hands. (Don’t overwork the patties, as the meat will become tough.)
Cook the burgers in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes each side (for medium-rare), or to your taste. You can also cook them using the grill or barbecue heated to medium.
Combine the aïoli and remaining harissa in a small bowl.
To assemble the burgers, toast the cut side of the buns. Place the bun bottoms on plates and add a dollop of the harissa aïoli, a handful of coleslaw and a patty. Add another handful of coleslaw, another dollop of aïoli and top with the bun lid.
700g capsicums, roasted, peeled and seeded
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large green chillies
2 handfuls coriander, leaves and stems washed and coarsely chopped
3 teaspoons mild paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons caster sugar
2 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
200ml extra virgin olive oil
Put the roasted capsicums, garlic, chillies and chopped coriander in a food processor and blend to a paste. Add the paprika, cumin, ground coriander and sugar and blend for a further minute. Add the vinegar and salt to taste, then drizzle in the olive oil slowly with the motor running until combined.
Makes about 1 kg
5 garlic cloves, peeled
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
500ml (2 cups) light olive oil
Preheat the oven to 170°C . Put the garlic on a baking tray and cook until lightly golden, about 7–8 minutes (if overcooked it will have a bitter taste). Cool the garlic to room temperature. Mash with a fork.
Blend the egg yolks, mustard, salt, vinegar and garlic in a blender or food processor until well combined and smooth, scraping down the side of the bowl. Very slowly, drizzle in the olive oil while the motor is running, until the aïoli is well emulsified and thick. Always keep aïoli refrigerated. It will last in the fridge up to 7 days.
Middle Eastern Coleslaw
½ red cabbage
Sea salt flakes
1 handful mint, leaves picked
2 large handfuls flat-leaf parsley, leaves finely chopped
1 handful coriander, leaves coarsely chopped
100ml extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons husroum (verjuice)
Use a mandolin or knife to shave the cabbage finely and julienne the carrots. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and press down on the cabbage and carrot with your hands to soften them. Add the mint, parsley and coriander to the bowl and mix well. Add the olive oil and husroum, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Toss to combine and serve.
Serves 4–6 as a side dish
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