S.F. Rising: Persian Herb Bread from Middle East Market
|Berkeley's Middle East Market bakes LP-sized herb breads.|
Persian herb-cheese bread
Source: Middle East Market, 2054 San Pablo (at University), Berkeley, 510-704-8800.
Toast-appropriateness: not for the toaster ― but great when rewarmed in the oven for a few minutes.
|Middle East's Afghan bread.|
The album-sized flatbread is covered in a fine paste of scallions, cilantro, basil, olive oil, and mashed feta, then baked until it's soft and golden. The oven softens the bite of the green onions and shades in the bright floral notes of the cilantro and basil, so the herbs come through as an aromatic pesto; the feta adds a bright, acidic edge. The counterwoman I spoke to said it can be eaten like a pizza, or simply warmed and sliced up, then dipped in olive oil with a little chopped garlic. Having driven all the way to Berkeley to try it, I found myself leaving the market with my own stack of flatbreads draped across my arms. Getting the door of my car open: difficult. Making it back to San Francisco without devouring the herb bread: even harder.