Kebabs, black limes, rosewater, a tangle of herbs, and rice, rice, rice: The hallmarks of Persian cooking are popping up on menus across the country. Behold three classic Iranian dishes that are currently getting the chef treatment.

By Elyse Inamine
November 16, 2016
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© Benji Wagner/Tusk

Salad stars

Chef Sam Smith 
grew up loving his Persian neighbors’ salads—so much so, they inspired a dish at Tusk in Portland, Oregon. Tossed with romaine, edible flowers and nasturtium yogurt, it’s a chefy cross between the greens platter sabzi khordan and cucumber-tomato-and-onion-filled shirazi salad.

Long grains

From saffron-and-butter chelo (steamed basmati) to crispy tahdig (pan-fried rice), there’s always rice 
at the Persian table. At Atlanta’s Rumi’s Kitchen—which opens an Avalon, Georgia, outpost in April—Ali Mesghali serves six kinds: His shirin polo is fragrant with 
orange peel, saffron, barberries and pistachios.

Winter fruit

At Tawla in San Francisco, Joseph Madigow has a following for his duck fesenjan, a rich, sweet-tart stew 
made with poultry simmered with pomegranate juice, molasses and 
ground walnuts.

Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid ($35)

For an introduction to Persian cuisine, pick up Naomi Duguid’s new cookbook. Through rich storytelling and recipes from her travels, Duguid explores the culinary heritage 
that unites Iran, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. Try her recipe for Persian Split Pea Soup