Hillel Gardi is a shepherd and chef who forages his food and prefers to cook in the field over an open fire rather than in a traditional kitchen. While he doesn’t consider himself a pashtida lover, there’s one exception. This recipe from his late, beloved grandmother. She used to prepare it in large quantities and freeze it, perfectly sliced. Every Shabbat she would thaw a piece and serve it as part of the family lunch. When she suddenly passed away, the family discovered extra pashtidas in her freezer. Each was treated as a valuable treasure, thawed and eaten “as if it were a piece of her,” he explains.
Gardi believes the secret to the recipe is how thin it is — it’s crispy, yet tender. He recommends topping a slice with goat milk labneh, a sprinkling of sumac and fresh hyssop leaves, maybe some chopped scallion or hot chile pepper, and squeezing some tomato seeds on top. Then, he says, “take the bite of your dreams.”
Try more pashtida recipes like Adeena Sussman’s challah-crusted one and another with a puff pastry crust from Yael Dabby.
5 medium-sized zucchinis
2 medium-sized onions
½ cup (120 ml) olive oil
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Goat milk labneh
Fresh hyssop leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Use a box grater to grate the zucchini and onions. Wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze well to remove the excess liquid.
- Mix the zucchini and onion with the remaining ingredients and pour into a large wide pan, in an even 3-cm/1.2-in-high layer. Bake in the oven until the pie is golden brown with some burnt edges, 35-40 minutes.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes before cutting a piece, topping it with a dollop of labneh, fresh hyssop leaves, a pinch of sumac, and tomato seeds.
Alternatively, the pie can also be prepared in a cast iron pan with a lid over an open fire. Make sure not to place the pan directly over the fire but on glowing embers that have been carefully set aside. Cover with the iron lid and place plenty of hot coals on top, blasting heat from the top as well as the bottom.