Courtesy Michael Solomonov, chef and co-owner, CookNSolo restaurant group, Philadelphia
Michael Solomonov is a five-time James Beard Award winner. The Israeli-born chef is co-owner of several Philadelphia restaurants. Flagship Zahav is known for its small plates; he says that this is its most popular item. If you can’t find labneh, Greek yogurt is an adequate substitute.
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, thin-sliced
- 1 cup labneh
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
Mix herbs, garlic and labneh in large glass bowl until well combined. Season with salt, to taste. Transfer to smaller serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.
In heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm 2 inches canola oil until it registers 375˚F on candy thermometer. Fry cauliflower in small batches until golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels. Season generously with salt. Serve with herbed labneh. Serves 4.
Jeffrey Bartash, Zahav’s manager/sommelier, recommends Recanati 2017 Marawi, an indigenous grape rediscovered in Israel and Palestine. Its rich body is complemented by acid and minerality on the finish, which will hold up to the earthy cauliflower and creamy labneh.
Vilarnau NV Brut Reserva Cava offers bright fruit flavors and more complexity. It can stand up to the rich texture of labneh as well as the depth of flavor of cauliflower and herbs.