Not many restaurants have as much national acclaim and buzz circling them as Zahav, which introduced Philly to its version of Israeli cuisine over 10 years ago. At Zahav and the other restaurants in owners Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s (ever-growing) roster, you’ll find a unique mix of Israeli and Jewish favorites, from rugelach and babka to Yemenite pull-apart kubaneh bread and Jerusalem bagel sandwiches, plus a generous helping of tahini across nearly every menu.
One of Solomonov’s favorites? Chicken schnitzel. It’s a dish that sometimes gets a soggy, bad rap. But we know the truth, which is that good schnitzel is a thing of beauty. Solomonov’s version, which he demonstrated on Instagram as part of Eater at Home, calls for matzo meal and hawaij, a Yemeni spice blend. Solomonov recommends serving it hot in a dressed pita or on a platter with rice — and definitely in front of the TV in a robe. Check out the recipe below.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or eggplant or zucchini)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons of hawaij spice blend (substitute with turmeric, cumin, or paprika, or make a blend with all three)
2 cups of matzo meal
2 teaspoons plus a pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup of canola oil
Slice each chicken breast in half horizontally and pound (with a mallet or the back of a heavy pan) to an even ¼ inch thickness. In a shallow baking dish, beat the eggs with the hawaij. Place the chicken in the dish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for four hours, or overnight.
Place the matzo meal in a shallow dish and stir in the two teaspoons of salt. Dredge the chicken in the matzo meal and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, one or two pieces at a time, and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Drain the chicken on paper towels, transfer to a plate, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
Serve hot in pitas with avocado, tomato, and za’atar, or on a platter with yellow rice, chopped salad, and herbed tahini.