Tel aviv’s igra rama is a vegetable-forward restaurant near Carmel MarketCarmel Market. Chef Aner Ben Refael believes in local—80 percent of the ingredients are locally sourced. Standout dishes include roasted sweet potato filled with roasted tomato; grilled eggplant drizzled with yogurt and garlic; and fig salad with sumac (a tangy spice commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking).
The panna cotta, however, was a game-changer. By adding yogurt to the recipe, Ben Refael produced a particularly creamy texture, more burrata than bounce. And a sumac sauce and a sprinkle of dried za’atar (wild thyme) made intriguing counterpoints to the panna cotta, which was flavored with lemon verbena.
Back at Milk Street, we focused on recapturing the taste and texture of Igra Rama’s version. We found that 2 cups of whole-milk yogurt gave us the right lush, creamy consistency. Lemon zest and thyme replace the lemon verbena and za’atar, infusing the panna cotta base with bright, herbaceous flavors. A sumac-laced citrus syrup reinforces the tartness of the yogurt. Even panna cotta evolves!