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The Cookstr 10: Passover Dishes Old and New

April 14, 2011

Passover, beginning this year on April 19th, commemorates the story of the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Their need for immediate escape meant they had no time to wait for the bread to rise, and the unleavened bread they were able to bake and take with them was in essence the first matzoh. From this evolved the tradition of eating no food that contains leavening agents (“chametz”) during Passover, which lasts for seven days and celebrates various well-loved dishes. Here are ten recipes for a Passover seder that can carry over into dinner parties and everyday meals all throughout the season.

Christopher Idone's Matzo Ball Soup

Julie Hasson's Giant Coconut Clouds

1. Classic Matzo Brei

Faye Levy

Softened matzo fried with eggs is a common Passover breakfast dish of Ashkenazi origin. A staple year-round on deli menus, it can be served either sweet, topped with jam or applesauce, or savory, more like an omelette or frittata.

Click here for Faye’s Classic Matzo Brei Recipe

2. Gefilte Fish

Sharon Lebewohl

Popularized as an economic way to ‘stretch’ fish by combining it with matzo meal, gefilte fish also solves the religious dilemma created by the stipulation that while the boning of fish is forbidden on Shabbat, the Talmud indicates fish should be eaten on Friday nights. This homemade gefilte fish is a far cry from the gelatinous canned supermarket version, flavoring whitefish and carp with onions, celery, and carrot.

Click here for Sharon’s Gefilte Fish Recipe

3. A Simple Braised Brisket Pot Roast

James Beard

Brisket is the customary and beloved focus of the Passover seder in America, and for good reason: braised slowly until the meat is juicy and fork-tender, brisket is an impressive main course that doesn’t require much preparation work. The meat should be sliced thinly against the grain to deliver the most tender morsels. Be mindful that this recipe calls for butter in the sauce: you’ll need to substitute vegetable oil to avoid combining meat and dairy.

Click here for James’ Simple Braised Brisket Pot Roast Recipe

4. My Matzos

Lauren Groveman

This recipe makes a version of the traditional unleavened flatbread that’s more flavorful than the store-bought, boxed kind, especially topped with peanut butter, cream cheese, chopped liver or “schmaltz” (rendered chicken or goose fat).

Click here for Lauren’s My Matzos Recipe

5. Matzo Ball Soup
Christopher Idone

Matzo ball soup introduces the age-old question of consistency: sinkers or floaters? Light as a feather, practically disintegrating into the surrounding moat of chicken broth, or substantial and al dente, providing a chewy, solid density? The “kneidlach” in this recipe call upon schmaltz for flavor, seltzer for buoyancy and beaten eggs for fluffiness.

Click here for Christopher’s Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

6. Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Ground Meat
Artichokes

Poopa Dweck

A gift from Spanish Jewish cooking, these stuffed artichokes could serve as a possible substitution or side dish for the traditional Passover Seder centerpiece of brisket, as warmer weather has us celebrating spring vegetables.

Click here for Poopa’s Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Ground Meat Recipe

7. Potato Pancakes

Virginia Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner
These croquettes are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, with the cooking oil used to fry the latkes symbolizing the oil of the legendary long-lasting flame in the Hanukkah story. Made with matzo meal, this recipe is suitable for Passover as well – and they’re so crispy and satisfying served as an appetizer, a side dish, or snack, there’s no reason not to eat them all year round.

Click here for Virginia and Brigitte’s Potato Pancakes Recipe

8Grandma Dora’s Chopped Liver

Molly O’Neill

This chopped liver recipe is extraordinary served atop matzo, getting its creaminess from the rendered chicken fat. White onion and paprika give the dish a savory kick.

Click here for Molly’s Grandma Dora’s Chopped Liver Recipe

9. Giant Coconut Clouds

Julie Hasson
The prohibition against leavened food and regular flour in Passover desserts gives cooks the opportunity to rise to the challenge, without the help of yeast or baking soda. Coconut macaroons fit the bill: crispy on the outside but chewy and airy within, their lightness is provided by egg whites.

Click here for Julie’s Giant Coconut Clouds Recipe

10. Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake

Sarah Magid

A reliable flourless dark chocolate cake recipe is a staple in every good baker’s repertoire, and another go-to Pessach pleasure. This gooey, dense torte is rich, smooth, and divine served with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Click here for Sarah’s Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake Recipe

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