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Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads

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BackyardKitchMediterSaladNew York Times published Sarina Roffé, whose recipes have also been featured in NY Times Jewish Cookbook, Image Magazine and Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America, has released Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads. The book is available on Amazon. Sarina is the author of “Food and Drink, Modern Period: Syria.” Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Brill, Leiden, 2014). She is a recognized academic in the field of Syrian Jewish history.

In the first in a series of user-friendly cookbooks, she includes authentic recipes for Middle Eastern salads, couscous salads and pickles. Design director Ruby Buckris, photographer Michelle Dayan and food stylist Elliot Chrem, bring this cookbook to life. Appealing to the senses, it’s perfect for vegetarians, the diet conscious, beginners and kosher cooks. The book has links to video demonstrations.

Sarina is the creator of Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine (, an iPhone app, and write a cooking blog. Her interest in Sephardic cooking began as a child, when she watched and assisted her mother, Renee Salem Missry, grandmother, Esther Salem, and aunts in the kitchen. These experiences included cooking for large numbers of people, entertaining, preparing and organizing menus.

The inspiration for Backyard Kitchen came from Sarina’s grandmother, Esther Cohen Salem, the first Syrian Jewish caterer in Brooklyn, NY. It was in the mid-20th century era when weddings and special occasions were still held in the home. Esther’s garage was converted into a backyard kitchen. The basement was a storage area for gallons of pickles and imported Syrian spices. The backyard kitchen became the center of life for the surrounding community and the place where Sarina, her sisters and her cousins learned to prepare this unique Middle Eastern cuisine. Sarina picked up her grandmother’s art, crafting every dish with care and love.

Sarina learned the secrets, techniques and subtleties of Syrian cooking that make the difference between a good cook and a great chef. She wanted to pass on the lessons learned from the women in her family to her children as a way of preserving Sephardic culture.

Sarina Roffé has published hundreds of articles in journals, newspapers and magazines as well as many recipes. She specializes in Sephardic history, culture and genealogy. Sarina holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland in College Park, an MA in Jewish Studies from Touro College, and expects an MBA in May 2016. Born to Syrian Jewish parents and raised in the heart of Brooklyn’s Syrian Jewish community, Sarina is married to David Roffé and has three children and three grandchildren.

Zucchini Salmon Avocado Salad with Chips

This is an interesting salad with heightened flavor from the agave. Dish into small cups for individual servings and top with a chip. Very elegant.


  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 8- oz can salmon
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 1 medium avocado, peeled seeded and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Potato chips
  • 1 BS parmesan cheese, optional
  • Sprig of parsley


  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 TBS agave
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh chives


  1. Brush zucchini with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on hot grill pan for 5 minutes. Remove and cool. Dice.
  2. Add salmon, dash of soy sauce and avocado.
  3. Mix dressing by whisking together olive oil, zest and juice of lemon, agave, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, and chives.
  4. Pour dressing onto salmon, zucchini and avocado. Fold gently.
  5. Spoon into individual serving bowls.
  6. Garnish with potato chip, sprinkle of parmesan cheese (if using) and parsley sprig.

Yield: 8 servings

2 thoughts on “Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads”

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