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February 8, 2007
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Laura Frankel, author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons: Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day, loves her job as the chef and co-owner of Shallots, one of Chicago's top restaurants -- and a kosher one at that.

Her book, released in 2006, honors traditional Jewish repertoire and also expands upon it, drawing on flavors from the Mediterranean, the Mideast, Mexico and more.

Every recipe has make-ahead information for holiday or Shabbat preparation, plus a short introduction that includes tips, serving ideas and information that will heighten appreciation for the dish.

Frankel also includes charts indicating seasonal availability of fish and produce throughout the year. There are also sections on choosing high-quality, versatile cooking equipment and finding sources for good kosher ingredients.

Below are a few of her meatless dishes to try.

Vegetable Tagine

(Pareve)

1 Tbsp. coriander seed
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp. anise seed or fennel seed
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium parsnips, peeled and diced
1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry kosher white wine
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup pitted dates, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Combine the coriander seeds, cinnamon, anise seeds, cloves and chili flakes in a spice grinder, and process until finely ground. Set aside spice mix.

Heat a large sauté pan and lightly coat the bottom of it.

Sauté the vegetables, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper, in batches until lightly browned, adding more olive oil between batches, if needed.

Transfer the vegetables to a tagine -- a large, deep casserole dish -- or an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.

Lightly coat the pan with oil again and sear the tomato paste until visibly darkened, about 2 minutes.

Add the ground spices to the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the wine and three cups of stock, stirring to dissolve the paste, then pour the liquid over vegetables.

Stir in the dates, apricots, barley and salt and pepper to taste over the tagine and roast about 11/2 hours, until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serves 8.

Pasta Puttanesca

(Dairy or Pareve)

1 lb. long pasta
extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8 anchovy fillets (packed in olive oil), lightly chopped
1/2 tsp. chili flakes or to taste
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/2 cup pitted, sliced kalamara olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Cook pasta until it is al dente, 7 to 9 minutes, or according to package directions, and drain.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with extra-virgin olive oil. Add the garlic, anchovies and chili flakes.

Stir until the anchovies break up and almost melt, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic.

Add the capers and olives.

Cook for 5 minutes to combine the flavors. Add the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

Just before serving, add the cooked pasta to the hot sauce and toss together over low heat for a minute.

Transfer the pasta to a large, warmed serving bowl.

Serve garnished with additional chopped parsley, tasty extra-virgin olive oil, and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serves 4 to 6.

Crispy Cod With Lemon Vinaigrette and Vegetable 'Chips'

(Pareve)

For the Vinaigrette:

1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsps. fresh lemon juice
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup rice flour
1 egg white
1/4 cup water
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
olive oil
4 skinless, boneless 6 oz. cod fillets or other meaty, lean fish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Vinaigrette: Whisk together the vinegar, chives, parsley, lemon juice, shallot and olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Whisk together the rice flour, egg white, water and cayenne, if using, in a large bowl till smooth and free of any lumps.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fill the pan with enough olive oil to a depth of 1/2-inch. Heat the oil to 350°.

Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the fish with the batter. Place the fish in the oil, and pan fry until lightly browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the fish from the oil and drain on paper towels.

To serve, place a generous mound of vegetable chips on individual plates or a serving platter. Place the fillets next to the chips and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Vegetable 'Chips'

(Pareve)

1 medium parsnip, peeled and cut into sticks about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into sticks about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide
1 large celery root (celeriac), peeled and cut into sticks about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place all vegetables in a large bowl. Lightly coat the vegetables with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter vegetables on a baking sheet in one layer. Roast, without stirring, until caramelized and lightly browned, about 1 hour.

Serves 4.

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