Recipes Inspired by the Desert

In honor of Passover, when we recall the Exodus from Egypt and the start of the 40 year journey through the desert to the Promised Land, we are celebrating the food of the desert today. 

Like the Four Questions of the Haggadah, we asked four experts about growing in the desert past and present and we collaborated with Kaiten, a platform that connects food producers with food lovers, to create a box of goods from the best desert producers.

We also asked chef Ohad Levi to create several desert-inspired recipes for the holiday. Four years ago, Levi left his job at Cicchetti in Tel Aviv for a life in the desert, settling just outside of Eilat in Be’er Ora. “The atmosphere here is very different,” he explains. “People are very aware of the environment.” He knows local families who despite the challenges, prefer to buy directly from producers and farmers instead of supermarkets. 

His new environment and community have had a strong impact on him and his cooking. “Beyond the use of raw materials from the region such as silan, olive oil, and lots of vegetables, a lot of cooking here is done with live fire,” Levi says. “You have to understand that the entertainment culture here takes place in the yards of houses. We meet at someone’s house, and cook. Everyone has their own taboon.” 

Like his neighbors, Levi and his partner built one of their own. He adds that his style has shifted away from meticulously-plated food towards cooking that’s more focused on raw ingredients and seasonality. You can see that in his recipes for leg of lamb stuffed with date charoset that’s slow roasted in a technique that’s borrowed from Bedouin cooking. There are also herb-stuffed fish with a warm yogurt sauce, and kosher for Passover chocolate fudge muffins with coffee and cardamom.

Passover Chocolate Fudge Muffins with Black Coffee and Cardamom

Passover Chocolate Fudge Muffins with Black Coffee and Cardamom