Chef Assaf Granit reveals his best Ashkenazi recipes

Unlike its Korean, Japanese or Mexican counterparts, Eastern European Jewish cuisine does not enjoy a huge hype in France. If you think about it, you know it: gravlax, tarama, pastrami or sauerkraut are just some of its emblematic specialties. And when you think about it better, it’s in keeping with the times: anti-waste par excellence, it’s a model in the art of doing a lot with not much, of throwing nothing away and preserving food when needed. times are harsh.

Humble, but complex, moving in its generosity, Ashkenazi cuisine is told to us by the starred Israeli chef Assaf Granit: “For fifteen years, I have been making Jewish cuisine all over the world – in its Kurdish, Iraqi, Moroccan, Yemeni, Arabic – but I have never approached the cuisine of the Eastern European diaspora even though I am half German, half Polish. »

Ashkenazi cuisine is still little known in Western Europe, and that is why he decided to honor it in his new Parisian restaurant, open since September at the foot of the Le Grand Mazarin hotel, in the heart of Marais. Named Boubalé (“little darling” in Yiddish), this table is Assaf Granit’s declaration of love to the cuisine of his ancestors, and a valuable introduction to the subject. “It’s a poor man’s cuisine, and from regions that are mostly cold for a large part of the year. It’s made from simple, inexpensive ingredients, like chicken fat and liver, which, with the right preparations and a little inspiration, can produce magnificent dishes. It is also made up of many foods prepared to be preserved during the long winters – fermented, vinegared, smoked,” continues Assaf Granit.

To introduce us to the emblematic Ashkenazi products, the chef takes us to Maison David, a butcher-charcuterie and caterer on rue des Écouffes (Paris-4th). “Everything they make is what my Polish grandmother had. The colors and flavors bring back lots of memories, and Michel and Françoise Kalifa, who run the shop, are infinitely generous. »

© Camille Ogier

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