Uh hi, hello, Paris?
I’m sorry, I’m trying to reach France – the country not the Hilton.
Sure, I’ll wait. I understand the confusion.
Oh hi, hello there! My name is Andrea Mitchell and I just wanted to speak with someone about the food there.
No, not the crepes. Uh uh not the croissants or the escargot or even the croque monsieur (though I would like to speak about that at a later date). No, I’m actually calling because…well…you see…hah…it’s a funny thing…I – well – I came there about five years ago around this time in early spring and…ha…oh you see, I just haven’t for the life of me been able to forget that one hot and greasy falafel sandwich I bought at a little shop in your Latin Quarter.
Right, sorry, this is not about the crepes. No, ma’am, please. I don’t mean to insult your finer sensibilities. I have no doubt that the beouf bourguignon is all that. (I’m bringing that phrase back, thankyouverymuch.) Listen, I saw Julie and Julia. I get it.
I just really need to speak to someone about the falafel.
Yes, I realize it’s not French.
Sure, I’d be happy to explain: it’s that hot buttered flatbread filled with crispy fried garbanzo bean patties, crumbled feta, velvety tahini, chopped lettuce, tomato, and sharp red onion.
Right, there’s a shop- it’s actually quite close to Shakespeare and Company bookstore. Mmm hmm just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame.
You’re sure you don’t know which one?
Hmm…well…okay. I guess it’s a lost cause. Thanks for your time.
I’ll just be over here…ya know…thinking about falafel and trying my damndest to ah… recreate a meal I ate five years ago.
No I have nothing better to do.
Nope, no siree bob, not a thing.
Oh! And actually, can you put Paris back on the phone?
Yup, Hilton this time.
This falafel recipe, though not quite as lovely as the one that’s deep fried and waiting for me in the streets of Paris, is absolutely delicious. It’s one of those dinners that really makes me giddy. I like to wrap it in foil or parchment, load it with extra feta and creamy, smooth tahini sauce and eat with my eyes closed and smiling.
The patties are richly spiced with cumin, coriander, and a hit of spicy chili powder. Each one crumbles and almost melts into the silky tahini. There’s a sharpness from the garlic and onion, a brightness from fresh parsley and lemon, and then a cool, satisfying tang from crumbled feta. Find the best, most authentic pita bread you can for this recipe. I recommend a buttery flatbread, warmed in the oven for a few minutes to soften and blister.
Baked Falafel with Lemon Tahini Sauce
15oz can chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Lemon Tahini Sauce
2 tablespoons tahini paste
zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 pita breads (5” diameter)
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped green leaf lettuce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all falafel ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Scoop the bean mixture into a bowl and shape into 8 equal sized patties. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush each with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes.
Whisk the tahini, lemon juice, and zest in a small bowl.
Divide the hot falafel among the two warmed pita breads and top with chopped lettuce, tomato, thinly sliced red onion, crumbled feta, and the lemon-tahini sauce.
Nutrition info for 1 serving (1/2 of entire recipe):
Calories: 538, Fat: 18.7g, Cholesterol: 33.4mg, Carb: 73.1g, Fiber: 10.4g, Sugars: 0.1g, Protein: 21.2g