Jake Cohen’s Shabbat Dinner Series | Mediterranean Feast

Jake Cohen is a nice Jewish boy who loves food. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, then worked the line at NYC institutions DANIEL and ABC Kitchen before transitioning out of restaurants and into food media. From recipe testing at Saveur Magazine to becoming Food Editor at TastingTable.com, he’s total Shabbat #goals. And trust us, you’re definitely going to want to follow him on Instagram at @jakecohen.

In this blog series, I’m focusing on 3-course Shabbat meals for 10 people. Follow along on insta at @onetableshabbat for how-tos and tips, then find the full recipes here each week.

What challah dreams are made of. (cc: @breadsbakery)

FENNEL AND CITRUS SALAD

This is one of the easiest and refreshing salads you’ll ever make. Crunchy shaved fennel is tossed in a tangy dressing of citrus juice and sumac for a side salad that will add brightness to any meal. Have everything prepped in a bowl in the fridge in advance, so when it comes time to serve, you only have to toss in the dressing.

Ingredients:
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cured sumac
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 large fennel bulbs, halved and thinly sliced on a mandolin
½ cup pitted Castelvatrano olives, roughly chopped
½ cup mint leaves
½ cup parsley leaves
2 navel oranges, suprêmed
2 Cara Cara oranges, suprêmed

ZA’ATAR CRUSTED SALMON WITH ROASTED WINTER ISRAELI COUSCOUS

Salmon gets the Middle Eastern treatment in this recipe, served over roasted winter vegetable Israeli couscous. By searing the salmon in advance, you can have them ready on a sheet pan to finish in the oven for a few minutes right before you serve. The couscous can also be made in advance, then simply reheating it with a little extra vegetable stock and olive oil. It’s one of those dishes that everyone will gawk over, not knowing how simple it is.

For the Couscous:
3 large rainbow carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 large parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4½ cups vegetable stock
2 cups Israeli couscous
½ cup minced parsley
3 tablespoons lemon juice

For the Salmon:
One 4-pound salmon side, cut into ten filets
¼ cup olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons za’atar


  1. Make the couscous: Preheat the oven to 450°. On a sheet pan, toss the carrots, parsnips and sweet potato with the olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown and tender, 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. Add the couscous and simmer, until tender and most the liquid is absorbed, 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
  3. To the couscous, add the roasted vegetables, the remaining olive oil, the parsley and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning, then keep warm.
  4. Make the salmon: Dry each piece of salmon well with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Season 5 filets with salt and pepper and sear, flipping once, until golden brown but still raw in the middle, 2 minutes per side.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining olive oil and salmon until all 10 filets are seared. Line them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey and lemon zest. Brush liberally on the salmon, then top each with a sprinkling za’atar. Place in the oven and bake until cooked to medium, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Lay the couscous on a large platter and top with the salmon filets, then serve.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, lemon juice, sumac, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the remaining ingredients with the dressing. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl and serve.

TAHINI-SWIRL BROWNIES

These are going to be the richest brownies you’ve ever had. Packed with rich halva and topped with swirled tahini, it’s so much better than any peanut butter brownie you’ve made in the past. The best part is you can prepare them the day before, so only have to slice and platter them on Shabbat.

Ingredients:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup crumbled halva
½ cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup tahini

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium glass bowl, combine the bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder and butter. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water and let melt, stirring occasionally until a smooth ganache comes together.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, mix the sugars, vanilla extract, salt, instant espresso powder and eggs until well incorporated. Once melted, stir the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the sugar mixture until smooth. Fold in the flour until a batter comes together followed by the halva and chocolate chips.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and drizzle with the tahini. Using the tip of a knife, swirl the tahini into the batter. Bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely, then remove from the pan and cut into 16 squares, and serve.

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Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen is a nice Jewish boy who loves food. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, then worked the line at NYC institutions DANIEL and ABC Kitchen before transitioning out of restaurants and into food media. From recipe testing at Saveur Magazine to becoming Food Editor at TastingTable.com, he’s total Shabbat #goals. And trust us, you’re definitely going to want to follow him on Instagram at @jakecohen.

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