For chef Haim Cohen, his mother Miriam’s kitchen was the best culinary school he attended. She exposed him to a wide range of cuisines and dishes, so when he entered restaurants, it felt like the most natural thing in the world. At a recent Schmaltzy event at Asif, he shared one of his favorite childhood memories: a small ritual with his mother. Every Friday as she prepared for a big Shabbat dinner, she would make him a challah sandwich with meatballs studded with onion and parsley. “You eat it and you thank God that you are Miriam Cohen’s son,” he said.
1 thick challah slice, soaked in water and squeezed dry
1 tablespoon ice water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Oil, for frying
16 challah slices, 1½ cm/ 0.4-in thick
3-4 tomatoes, cut into ½ cm/ 0.2-in slices
Prepare the meatballs: Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fry until golden. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Shape into 5 cm/ 2-in round meatballs.
To shallow-fry: Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry on both sides until nicely browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
To assemble the sandwich: Spread the challah slices with an even layer of mayonnaise. Arrange the meatballs on top of 8 slices, and cover with the tomato slices. Season with salt and cover the sandwiches with the remaining slices. Lightly press down on the sandwiches, allowing the challah to absorb the juices from the meatballs. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving with love.