Last week Laura Frankel treated us to her incredible Persian Purim Seudah menu. Her recipes are fabulous. In fact, if she’s following that menu for this year’s Purim Seudah, I may just show up at her place.
Though I am solidly Ashkenazic, I love the idea of a Persian Purim Seudah and I came up with some Sephardic-inspired dishes to add to the repertoire. After all, the whole Purim story takes place in exotic Persia and the Megillah gives us such a vivid picture of what life was like that we are virtually transported to Shushan. So when in Rome (or, um, Shushan)….
I’ll concede that Laura’s recipes are more authentic; but since neither one of us knows what Esther actually served to Achashverosh at that critical banquet we have the freedom to imagine.
Let’s set the scene. Imagine yourself reclining on a golden chaise amidst the purple splendor of the royal palace. The fragrances of the royal gardens waft through the latticed window and musicians play softly in the courtyard. The servants bring you an alabaster bowl in which you wash your hands and fresh Oven Baked Pita is set before you. You casually dip it into Roasted Garlic Hummus. Delicious.
A line of servants appears; each carries a chafing dish with more delicacies. You are presented with a savory plate of Ribbon Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Sauté, Spiced Brown Rice with Peas, and a dish known as the Pride of Persia – Lamb, with Cherry Tomato and Red Onion Kebabs. The lamb is so tender it practically melts in your mouth. You order a second helping for yourself and your royal guest.
The hours pass quickly, and the banquet ends with a flourish of mint tea and Fig Walnut Cookies. The memory of this royal feast will linger for many years.
It is time to arise, my Queen (or King). With any luck, your royal other half will help with the dishes!