To get through the last few months of winter it might be nice to try a new twist on a classic crema. This month we talked with Kate Burton, co-owner of Ziryab, a Catalan-Mediterranean fusion restaurant plus sister hookah bar in El Born.
Indulge me. What does Ziryab actually mean? Ziryab was a traveler, a chef, a thinker, a progressive for his time.
A lot of your dishes seem to have middle-eastern influence. What’s the concept? Our concept is Mediterranean fusion, with a lot of influences from North Africa and the Middle East. It’s a culinary voyage bringing new flavours and tastes to people and more fresh tapas than the usual fried fare. So we try to respect that voyage by using specialized ingredients from the Mediterranean zone.
What kinds of Mediterranean ingredients find their way into your dishes? The way Ziryab brought spices and flavours from Mesopotamia to Spain, we want to bring flavours to people here from all over the Med basin. Medjoul dates (Jordan Valley), halloumi cheese (Cyprus), herbs from Provence, black truffle from Alba, Italian burrata, humous and babaganoush recipes from Palestine, and wines from France, Italy, Turkey, Lebanon and even Morocco.
Why this dish? It’s one of the first dishes I researched for the menu, and it has become one of our most popular. People ask for the recipe all the time. I think people like it because it’s comforting and familiar and has a sweetness to it.
– 1 kilo of pumpkin
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 25 grams fresh ginger, peeled and diced
– 100 grams potatoes, peeled and diced
– 1 teaspoon of salt
– Pinch of black pepper
– 100 grams fig jam
– 1 can of coconut milk
– Pumpkin seeds (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the pumpkin in an oven dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
2) Sauté the onion and ginger in olive oil over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes until translucent. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, and pumpkin. Cover with water, and simmer over a medium flame for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
3) While the soup is simmering, fry the pumpkin seeds, if you’re using them, in a bit of olive oil over low heat for a few minutes. Or, dry toast them over medium heat if you prefer a healthier option. Drain on paper towels and reserve for garnish.
4) Add the jam to the soup and blend well. Strain through a fine-mesh colander or chinois and adjust seasonings to taste.
5) Decorate each bowl of soup with a drizzle of coconut milk and the fried pumpkin seeds.