Minimally spiced Romanian beef kebabs are grilled until lightly charred and served with intense, bright pickled persimmons in this take on Israeli street food from Michael Solomonov of Zahav. The persimmons are imbued with heady spices like dried lime, cardamom, and coriander, which play off their floral sweetness. Use the squat, tomato-like Fuyu persimmons or, Solomonov's favorite, Sharon fruits, an Israeli-developed hybrid closely related to the Fuyu.
Note: Allow at least two days for pickling.
Featured in: Eating Israel with Michael Solomonov
For the Pickled Persimmons
- 1 3⁄4 cups white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 dried lime, crushed
- 1 lb. Fuyu persimmons or Sharon fruits, cored, peeled, and cut into eight wedges each
For the Kebabs
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1⁄4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tbsp. club soda
- 2 tbsp. grated yellow onion
- 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Kosher salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar with the sugar, peppercorns, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cinnamon, salt, garlic, cardamom, lime, and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Arrange the persimmons in a shallow dish and pour the brine and spices over them. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the dish to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 days or up to 2 weeks.
In a large bowl, combine the beef with the parsley, club soda, onion, sugar, and garlic. Season with salt and, with your hands, mix until evenly combined. Form the beef into twelve 2-inch, 1 1⁄2-oz. balls and then form 3 balls each into football-shaped ovals onto 4 flat metal skewers. Place the skewers on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Light a grill or heat the broiler. Remove the skewers from the refrigerator and grill, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the skewers from the grill and serve while hot with the pickled persimmons.