Pear tart and Iranian shirazi salad
Wednesday, 8 Feb 2017

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Cooking from the #MuslimBan countries doesn’t need to be complicated or rich or full of lamb. The food of these countries are full of lovely salads and grains that you can integrate easily with the food you already eat. The next #NoMuslimBan recipe is a salad from Iran, from Sabrina Ghayour’s amazing book Persiana, paired with a simple savoury tart.

Shirazi salad is an Iranian (Iran or Persia?) variation of a salad that’s popular all over the middle east and is one I actually make almost every day. It’s cheap, healthy and refreshing. I call it the cucumber-tomato-onion salad; it’s also known as Israeli or shepherd’s salad, and when you go to a Turkish or Lebanese restaurant you will very likely get this salad on the side. Sabrina Ghayour’s version is fancier and includes pomegranate seeds and sumac. I’ve also seen it with little radishes, peppers, mint, or coriander. This salad is better fresh, so for two people I used half an onion, cucumber and lemon and stuck the other halves in the fridge for tomorrow.

I needed to use up some leftover puff pastry and Bleu de Gex I had lying around in the fridge, so I made a tart inspired by an open-faced sandwich I once had in Haarlem (though blue cheese and pears isn’t an uncommon pairing). The amount of blue cheese you use entirely hinges on the type of cheese you have, how strong it is and how much you like blue cheese. I tied it to the shirazi salad by drizzling pomegranate molasses on the tarts which works very well.

Some Iranian food blogs:
Fig & Quince
The Saffron Tales who has a book out that has great reviews but I haven’t read it yet
My Persian Kitchen
Turmeric & Saffron
NousheJan

Another thing I do besides eat is run. Here’s some articles about running as a woman in Iran:
What’s it really like to run in Iran?
Running in Iran: head covered, heart full
More about Mahsa Torabi, the woman who ran the first international marathon in Iran

Pear and blue cheese tart

Ingredients

Serves 2

  • about 60g blue cheese (I used Bleu de Gex)
  • half a Conference pear
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses about 100g puff pastry (homemade or 1/3 ready rolled puff pastry)
Method

Preheat the oven to 220 deg C.

If you're using storebought puff pastry like Jusroll, it's likely to have 6 servings. Put it on a baking tray, unroll it to about a third and cut. Halve this crosswise into two squares.

Prick the middle of each square with a fork and weigh down with baking beans or dried beans.

When the oven is hot, bake the puff pastry for about 10 minutes.

While the puff pastry's blind baking, slice the half a pear thinly.

Take the puff pastry out and remove the dried beans (you can save these to blind bake another day).

Crumble about a quarter of the blue cheese on each tart.

Arrange the pear slices on, then crumble the rest of the blue cheese on top.

Drizzle about 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses over the filling.

Bake for about 5 minutes, just enough for the cheese to melt.


Shirazi salad

Ingredients
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 100g pomegranate seeds (they come in a pack in the 'lunch' section of most supermarkets)
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 1/2 lemon
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp sumac
Method

Dice the onion, tomatoes and cucumber.

mix with pomegranate seeds, juice from half a lemon, some olive oil and the sumac.


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