LOS ANGELES — If you take the best features of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine — fresh produce, lively flavors, approachable dishes — and swirl them with the finest traditions of central Europe and Russia, you have Armenian cuisine. Think skewered, grilled meats; a table laden with delicious salads and stuffed vegetables; a variety of soups and porridges; and thin, chewy lavash bread to wrap or scoop up every drop.
A new book, Lavash: The Bread that Launched 1,000 Meals, Plus Salads, Stews, and Other Recipes From Armenia, part cookbook and part travelogue, hopes to take readers to unexplored destinations.
The book will be out on October 29. It is by Kate Leahy, John Lee and Ara Zada, with Lee also responsible for the photographs.
Armenia is a land of kind people, tantalizing foods, strong spirits, and fascinating history. Many centuries ago, it is where trade paths merged, bringing together flavors from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It’s where entire villages venture into the fields and hills to gather wild herbs; local lavash bakeries are social hubs, and every home has a stash of pickled vegetables.
With growing interest in fermentation and the medical benefits of a Mediterranean diet, Armenian food offers a new take on healthful deliciousness.
More than 60 recipes — arranged by course — cover authentic breads and everything you eat with them. Lavash features the many flatbreads of Armenia — lavash (a UNESCO-heritage bread), herb-stuffed jingalov hats, focaccia-like matnakash, and others — and provides techniques to make them easy to prepare in your home kitchen. It also explores stuffed vegetables, salads, soups, pickles, sweets, and meals for feasting.