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How to Eat A Passover Dinner in Style

How to Eat A Passover Dinner in Style

For some of us, a certain measure of austerity is associated with the Passover holiday. Just as our people were forced to eat unleavened bread after escaping from slavery in Egypt, we forgo bread and other leavened products in favor of matzah for a week.

At the same time, restaurant chefs, cookbook authors, and home cooks alike have been embracing the idea that cooking on Passover does not need to be inherently bland—and can even be upscale.

“The purpose of Passover is to celebrate our freedom from slavery in Egypt. Eating unleavened bread/matzah is due to the haste in which we left. But by no means is the purpose of Passover to remember the lack of normal food,” says Joy of Kosher cookbook author Jaime Geller.

“As with all celebrations, we mark this momentous, life altering, sea splitting event in our history with food, family and prayer,” she adds.

Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine and JOYofKOSHER.com staff members, and Geller herself, “stretch, and flex, and exercise, our culinary muscles each and every year coming up with new, creative, inspired, and easy recipes and menus to make this Passover the most delicious, enjoyable, memorable holiday ever,” Geller said.

The following recipes from JOYofKOSHER.com can make for a fancy kosher-for-Passover dinner that Geller believes will impress your guests.

Appetizer: Salmon Cakes with Tropical Fruit Salsa

Croquettes are cute and elegant for your starter course. They’re also wonderfully light and refreshing. The tropical salsa is a combination of fresh pineapple, mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice—the perfect complement to the richness of the salmon. The balance of sweet and savory flavors instantly pleases the palate. This is a starter with zing!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ready Time: 1 hour

Servings: 10 cakes

Ingredients for cakes:

1 (2-pound) side of salmon, skin on

1/2 cup red onion, diced

2 tablespoons matzah meal

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for salsa:

1 cup diced pineapple

1/2 cup diced mango

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease a large baking sheet. Bake salmon skin side down for 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked all the way through. Let cool completely.

2. Once salmon is cooled, gently flake away from the skin and break into large chunks. Place in a large bowl and combine with eggs, red onion, matzah meal, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Scoop about 1/3 cup at a time into your hands and form into a round patty about 1/4-inch thick. Place on a sheet pan and repeat with remaining mixture until you have formed 10 cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine pineapple, mango, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry 5 cakes at a time for about 5 to 8 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel lined plate while frying remaining cakes. To serve, top each cake with a few tablespoons of salsa.

Side Dish: Eggplant Tomato Stacks

These individual eggplant stacks are as beautiful as they are versatile—add ground beef to make them heartier.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ready Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 large, long eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup fine matzah meal or potato starch seasoned with dried parsley, salt and pepper

Vegetable, walnut or hazelnut oil for frying

3 cups marinara sauce

Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Dip the eggplant slices in egg and then in the seasoned matzah meal.

3. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Fry the eggplant in batches until golden on both sides; remove and drain on paper towels.

To Assemble the Eggplant Stacks:

4. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch pan. Cover the bottom with a thin layer of sauce. Place one layer of eggplant, top with sauce, top with eggplant, and top with sauce again.

5. Bake covered for 20 minutes.

6. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Dress It Up: For a quick and elegant time saver, warm sauce and pre-plate individual stacks. Alternate 2 or 3 layers of eggplant and sauce and garnish with fresh herbs.

Main Course: Grilled Ribeye with Crispy Parsnips

Ribeye is one of the most popular, juiciest, expensive steaks on the market. This cut is more marbled than others, which makes the steak especially tender and flavorful. Crispy parsnips are the perfect, slightly sweet alternative to French fries.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ready Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

8 medium parsnips, peeled

4 cups olive oil

6 rib eye steaks, 1-inch thick, room temperature (6-8 ounces each)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Using a peeler, peel parsnips into thin strips until you cannot peel anymore of the parsnip.

2. Heat oil over medium high heat. Fry parsnips in batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat until all parsnips are fried.

3. Heat grill pan over high heat. Season steaks liberally with salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare doneness. Let rest 5 minutes before serving or slicing.

(JNS.org)

 

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