One of my favorite recent Passover recipes is an Italian style liver spread, instead of traditional chopped liver. This recipe is…unctuous. Rich, sweet, flavorful, and will blow your traditional mom’s (or bubbe’s) chunky liver out of the water. This recipe is NOT for those who are looking for a healthy alternative. This recipe is best for people looking for an indulgent dish, because yes, it has fat in it.
Traditional Tuscan style liver spread calls for a special wine made in the region called Vin Santo, which of course is difficult (though not impossible) to find kosher. So instead of using the elusive sweet Vin Santo wine, I recommend using a sweet red wine, or even dare I say it.
Ok, I’ll whisper: Manischewitz.
I like to broil my own livers, but there is no reason you can’t use already broiled livers from the butcher.
1 lb chicken livers (raw or already broiled)
1 Tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
3/4 cup sliced button or bella mushrooms
1 Tablespoon capers, minced
1 Tablespoon minced anchovies or anchovy paste
1 1/2 cups sweet red wine
chicken or duck fat
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
If livers are not already broiled, spread out the raw livers on a roasting pan and broil in an oven until they are just no longer pink inside.
In a skillet on medium, heat a few Tablespoons of olive oil, and add 1 teaspoon of chicken or duck fat. Saute the mushrooms in oil until soft and caramelized. Add capers, thyme and anchovies and saute for another minute or two, so the flavors have the chance to marry.
Add the sweet red wine, scraping any “good bits” on the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture reduce for 2 minutes, and then add the livers to the mixture. Allow the livers to cook in the wine and mushroom mixture for 3-5 minutes, until the sauce has a reduced to half and livers are fully coated.
Allow the livers and sauce to cool for a few minutes, and then add to a food processor along with 1-2 Tbsp of chicken or duck fat. Mix until desired consistently. Fold in lemon zest at the end.
Serve with matzah or tam tams during Passover.
Chef David Kolotkin is executive chef of The Prime Grill in New York City. His mother’s delicious home cooked meals and the bonding moments with his father in the kitchen are among his fondest childhood memories. Those years gave him the balance and deep respect for food. Chef David attended The Culinary Institute of America, graduating with the “Most Likely to Succeed” award. He began working for notable restaurants including 21 Club, Butterfield 81, Patroon, and Windows of the World.
1 lb Chilean Sea Bass Filet, cut into 1" cubes
1/4 cup matzah meal
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 oz chopped black truffles (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
In a cuisinart with blade attachment, process bass until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and matzo meal. Process until combined.
Using hands, with the bass mixture, form into 16 I oz cakes, to resemble that of a scallop. Season with salt and pepper.
In a non-stick pan on a medium-high flame, add the vegetable oil and sear fish on both sides until brown, approximately 1 1/2 minutes on each side.
Remove the "scallops" from the sauté pan and place on a dry, clean paper towel t blot excess oil.
Put 4 -5 pieces on each plate (3 for an appetizer portion), drizzle with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the chopped black truffles (optional).
This is as simple as it gets, but it’s better than the sum of its parts. In fact, given the amount of rich, heavy food we consume during Passover, this salad is a welcome reprieve at the seder table. It cleanses your palate while wetting your appetite for more traditional dishes to come: matzah ball soup, brisket, gefilte fish, potato kugel, or whatever your family traditionally serves. I’ve served this at many a dinner party (and a few seders) and it gets rave reviews every time. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons will do just fine.
Olga Massov blogs at The Sassy Radish. She was born in Russia, moved to Boston when she was 11, went to Pittsburgh for college, and lived in DC for one sweltering summer. She jokes that she’s a Russian expat by way of New England with Southern inclinations, but her love of pickles, lobster, and bourbon (though maybe not necessarily together) proves the point.
Now, she lives in Brooklyn with her fiancé, Andrew, a journalist, and a linebacker-sized tabby cat, Forrest Whittaker. After a decade in finance fiddling with spreadsheets while yearning to be a food writer full time, Olga decided to take the plunge. She is now working on co-authoring her first book, The Kimchi Cookbook, which will offer seasonally-driven kimchi recipes, as well as recipes using kimchi in cooking. The book will be published last week of November 2012 by Ten Speed Press..
1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin
2 celery ribs, shaved paper thin
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon or regular lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves, for garnish
On a large plate or platter, spread out the fennel slices. Layer the celery slices on top. Drizzle the lemon juice and the olive oil, and sprinkle some flaky sea salt and black pepper on top. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours before serving. The salad gets better the longer it sits. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.
For Passover, writer and cookbook author Leah Koenig brings us a sweet and hearty side dish that looks as good as it tastes–which is to say, gobsmackingly phenomenal. Sweet potatoes and glistening sauteed shallots. Doesn’t get much better than that.
2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 medium shallots (approximately 1/2 lb), thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
freshly ground black pepper
Boil sweet potatoes in a 4-quart sauce pan until tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, drain potatoes, then add them back to the pan and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until shallots soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Season with a little salt, remove from heat, and set aside.
Add approximately 1/3 of the cooked shallots to the potatoes along with butter and stock and mash until well combined. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve topped with remaining shallots.
Too many people are stuck in a rut when it comes to gefilte fish. Take it out of the jar, add a dollop of horseradish and carrot. But this recipe from frequent MJL contributor and cook extraordinaire Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz shakes up the classic, offering something that will surprise and delight everyone at your seder.
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes (800 grams)
1/2 cup dates (diced)
½ cup raisins
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cumin
a pinch red pepper flakes
a pinch sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 quart water
gefilte fish, either frozen roll or jarred
Saute onions in oil over medium high heat until translucent.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the carrots. After the carrots have softened a bit, add the spices, the can of tomatoes, the dried fruit and the water. Raise the temperature and bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer.
For Frozen Gefilte Fish
Add frozen fish loaf according to the instructions on their package which will likely be something like the following.
Return to boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cook for 90 minutes covered. Refrigerate. Remove paper, slice and serve at room temperature.
For Jarred Gefilte Fish
After simmering the tomato stock for about an hour follow this recipe.
(This is cheating for those of us who don’t have easy access to frozen gefilte fish.)
Open the jar and place the gefiltes in the tomato sauce for about a minute. Serve at room temperature.
This recipe comes to us from Rivka at NotDerbyPie. Rivka is a native Washingtonian, back in her home town after stints in Manhattan and Jerusalem. Food is “merely” a hobby for her — she’s a consultant during the day — but she writes and photographs food beautifully, and she’s the author of some of our favorite and most popular recipes. Here she gives us a recipe for carrot kugel, adapted from everyone’s favorite sisterhood cookbook, “Second Helpings, Please.” Theirs is a year-round recipe (who doesn’t love a little carrot kugel after a long day at work?) but Rivka only makes it on Passover, and has adapted it to be both Passover friendly and slightly more delicious.
1 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup melted butter or canola oil
Preheat oven to 325F and set a rack in the center of the oven.
Butter and flour an 8" square baking pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, oil, lemon juice, and carrots.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until the two are combined and no lumps of flour remain. Transfer batter into the prepared baking pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes; when done, kugel should spring back when touched.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Mayim calls this recipe “ridiculously rich and decadent” and promises you won’t be able to tell that it’s kosher for Passover and vegan. And if you don’t trust Mayim, who do you trust?
1/4 cup almond meal - or just finely grind almonds in a processor to 1/4 cup worth!
1/4 cup matzo cake meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb plus 1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do NOT exceed 61% cacao which I know you all want to!?)
6 Tablespoon plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted pareve margarine
3 large eggs where 1 egg = 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp oil + 2 tsp baking powder (best cheap egg replacer for pesach ever!)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange peel
Sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 9" glass pie dish with margarine. Whisk almond meal, matzo cake meal and salt together in a bowl.
Combine 1 lb chocolate and 6 Tablespoon margarine in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 sec intervals until smooth, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
Beat "eggs" with sugar and vanilla about 2 min. Beat in orange peel, then chocolate mixture. At low speed, beat in dry ingredients. Transfer to pie dish, place on rimmed baking sheet because it will drip a bit!
Place sheet with pie in oven and bake until cracked on top and tester comes out with most crumbs attached, 45-50 min. Cool to room temp; center will fall, this is NORMAL! Don't freak out.
Combine 1 ounce chopped chocolate and 1 Tablespoon margarine in microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments until glaze is smooth, stirring often. Drizzle over pie! Sprinkle with almonds. CAN BE MADE 1 DAY AHEAD, CHILL UNTIL COLD, TENT WITH FOIL AND CHILL!
I highly recommend with eat this with strawberries tossed with a little sugar (2 Tablespoons per 1 1/4 lbs hulled strawberries works nice). Add 1 teaspoons of orange zest if you're feeling frisky. And you will be after tasting this!!!
Sometimes you need a break from all the heavy meat and kugels that are typical during Passover. This salad is a refreshing treat and can either be served as part of your Seder menu or during the week alongside a piece of grilled chicken or fish. Enjoy!
Rachel Korycan lives in Washington, D.C. and is a Development Coordinator at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.
1 package of arugula or lettuce of your choice
4 blood or navel oranges, chilled, peeled, excess pith removed, and sliced crosswise
1 small thinly sliced red onions
2 peeled, pitted and sliced avocados
For the dressing:
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1-3 Tablespoons honey or sugar
1 Tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped fresh spearmint
1/4 cup olive oil
To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the juices, zest, salt, cinnamon, honey, orange blossom water and spearmint. Slowly whisk in the oil.
To make the salad: Arrange the greens on chilled individual serving plates or on a chilled platter. Divide the orange slices, red onions and avocados among the serving plates, or arrange in overlapping sections on the platter. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.
Our family has served two kinds of charoset for the past decade — while nothing can take the place of my aunt’s Eastern European charoset, with apples and walnuts cut in the same wooden bowl with a mezzeluna and put in the same green-tinted glass jar with cinnamon and Manischewitz to marinade overnight — the Sefardi/Mizrahi charoset has made a place for itself.
Charoset, regardless of ethnicity, is made of layers of flavor and constant taste-testing. Not such a bad plan during your potentially hectic holiday prep.
1 cup dried figs
1 cup raisins
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1 cup almonds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
2-3 Tablespoons pomegranate juice
Put the figs, raisins, dates and almonds into a food processor. Let it pulse until you have a thick and sticky paste.
Using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the food process and transfer contents to a large bowl.
In a small bowl mix the pomegranate juice and spices together and pour over fruit-nut mixture. Begin mixing everything together with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add more pomegranate juice.
Pinch of a piece of the mixture and roll into a ball, the size of 1-1.5 bites. Keep a bowl of tepid water on hand, as your hands will get covered.
There are many different varieties of Charoset – from Bubbe’s traditional apple and Manishewitz to various Sephardi styles with dates and other dried fruit. I know each family has their own recipe, but I think its nice to change things up every now and then during the holidays.
The first time I made Seder for my family, I tried this recipe and adapted it over time to the recipe below. If you don’t want to make your own candied walnuts, go ahead and buy them! Fairway, Trader Joes and other major supermarkets will carry candied walnuts or pecans which you can certainly substitute.
4 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup Manischewitz
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest (optional)
1 cup walnut halves
4 cups vegetable oil
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl.
In a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil to 350°F. Fry walnuts until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Using a slotted spoon, transfer walnuts from skillet to bowl containing sugar mixture. Toss walnuts in sugar, then spread on baking sheet. Cool 15 minutes, then chop roughly.
Combine nuts, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, apples, pomegranate seeds, zest, wine and pomegranate juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.