Israeli Seafood Paella with Feta and Lime by Neni

Israeli Seafood Paella by Neni in a double handled chef pan

Serves 6-8




  • 3 slices sourdough bread, flatbread or challa (1 day old)
  • 1 tablespoon dried za’atar spice mix
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 bunches fresh za’atar or oregano
  • 2 tablespoons sumac
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt


  • 2.5 kg (5 lb 8 oz) multicoloured cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • 20 calamari
  • 12 prawns (jumbo shrimp)
  • Olive oil
  • 100 g (31⁄2 oz) feta cheese
  • 1 lime
  • Fresh za’atar, to garnish
  • Sumac, for sprinkling



Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). For the croutons, tear bread into coarse pieces and combine with the dried za’atar spice mix and the olive oil on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Roast in the oven until the bread is golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the bread roasts, marinate the za’atar. Peel the onion and cut into thin slices. Pluck the za’atar leaves from the stems. Mix both together in a bowl with the sumac, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

For the stewed tomatoes, heat the oven grill to 260°C (500°F). Quarter the tomatoes and peel the garlic. Mix all ingredients together on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook under the hot grill for 20 minutes, so that the tomatoes give off a bit of liquid. Take out and set aside.

Clean the calamari and prawns. Heat a chargrill pan and brush with a bit of olive oil. Cook the seafood, turning after 1–2 minutes. Grill the other side for 1–2 minutes and lift out of the pan. (The prawns are done as soon as they turn pink. The calamari should be lightly browned.)

Coarsely crumble the feta and quarter the lime. Arrange the seafood and croutons on plates with the stewed tomatoes. Add the feta and lime quarters and garnish with the marinated and the fresh za’atar and with the sumac.


Images and recipes from Tel Aviv by Neni, Photography by Nuriel Molcho, Murdoch Books RRP $49.99. Out now’


Tel Aviv by Neni

Tel Aviv by Neni is an exciting journey through food and travel.

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