Wanna Date?

The world of food forever defies expectations. Just when you think you’ve been around the block enough times to know where the cuisines are, you find another one that pops up with combination that excites the taste buds. A NYTimes recipe called Barka Shrimp from Eritrea, combining dates, coconut, shrimp and tomato caught my eye and sent me to Wikipedia to even find out where Eritrea is.

Turns out, that while focusing on the Mideastern cuisine this week with the celebration of Passover and Good Friday, by making a slight turn on the world map and going over the Arabian Gulf to Eritrea, to the Horn of Plenty there’s a marvelous cuisine marrying influences influences of the Mideast along with Africa and India. Dates are prominent in this cuisine and often appear in savory items calling for a spot of sweet. Curiously, my search uncovered some great date chutney and Indian appetizer kebabs where that chutney would be fantastic.

The dates add a slightly surprising sweet to the Shrimp Barka. Along with this dish we we would be enjoying Injera the crepelike sourdough we know from our fave Chicago Ethiopian restaurant. Traditionally torn off pieces of injera are used as a utensil to pick up the Shrimp Barka so that soury spongy flatbread mixes with the sweetness of the shrimp and cream.

Luckily, my Storied Table colleague and friend, Georgia Montgomery, had canned some luscious garden tomatoes which I was lucky to still have on hand. Can’t wait to make this recipe when those heirloom summer tomatoes are in season.

Enjoy, Happy Easter and Passover and the whole wide world! There’s a whole map to explore in the coming year~ W

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