The new cookbook, A Taste of Pesach (ArtScroll/Shaar Press; hardcover/$29.99), has one of the more unusual publishing pedigrees you will see this year. It is the product of six years’ worth of Pesach recipes compiled by a group of women who would sell them each year as a fundraiser for Yeshiva Meon HaTorah, a high school in New York.
The result is an appealing blend of recipes that range from homey to haute, complete with the women’s observations about them. We have included a selection of both here.
I roasted cherry tomatoes to serve with this appetizer and loved the combination. Beads of two sauces (I used dill dip and thick tomato sauce) pressed from a squeeze bottle complete the look.
Another idea is to serve the stack in a pool of warm marinara sauce. A little quicker and easier, but just as tasty!
Pareve. Yields 8 servings
¼ cup seltzer
½ cup potato starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 large OR 2 small eggplants, not peeled
oil for frying
sauces, optional, for serving
Prepare the batter: Beat first four ingredients in a bowl, using a fork or hand mixer. Scrub eggplant and slice into rounds. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet. Dip each eggplant slice into batter and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden, crispy on outside and soft inside. Add more oil as needed. Stack 3 or 4 slices and serve with sauce, if desired.
My Moroccan neighbor who shared this recipe makes it regularly with salmon as well.
Pareve. Yields 8 servings
8 (1-inch) whitefish steaks
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, cut into spears
4 jalapeño peppers, seeded and each cut into 4 spears
1 Tablespoon salt (or to taste)
½ cup oil
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon hot paprika
Place ingredients into an 8-quart pot, layering as follows: crushed tomatoes, garlic, carrots, jalapeño pepper. Sprinkle generously with salt. (To tone down the spiciness, use only 2 jalapeño peppers and substitute regular paprika for the hot paprika in Step 3.) Place fish slices over layers. In a small bowl, mix oil with both types of paprika and drizzle over fish. Sprinkle with parsley. Slice lemon into four thin slices. Cut each slice in half, and place over parsley on each fish steak. Cover pot, place over medium-low flame, and slowly bring to a boil (about 10 minutes). Cook for an additional 30-45 minutes, shaking pot 2-3 times during cooking to combine flavors. Serve warm or at room temperature.
When I shared the recipes of the Pesach cookbook with my mother, she laughed out loud. When I asked what was so funny, she said that she does not use most of the featured ingredients on Pesach, so she would save it for year-round use. Ma, this one is for you!
Meat. Yields 12 servings
6 large Idaho potatoes
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1⁄3 cup oil
1 pound boneless flanken, cut into chunks
Using a food processor fitted with the fine grater blade or the S-blade, shred potatoes and onion. Transfer to large bowl. Add eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth.
Pour oil to make a thin layer on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan. Pour half of potato mixture into pan. Layer with flanken and remaining potato mixture.
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake 2 hours, uncovered.
2. Preheat oven to 500°F and bake for ½ hour, uncovered.
Lower oven to 200°F. Set a pan of water on rack underneath kugel to keep moist. Cover kugel well and bake overnight.
3. Layer potatoes and meat in a slow cooker; cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours, and then reduce to LOW; cook several additional hours until ready to serve.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
These are so good that we wanted to name them “I Can’t Believe It’s Pesach Crinkle Cookies,” but the title was too long!
Pareve. Yields about 50 cookies
¾ cup oil
1¼ cups cocoa plus 1 Tbsp.
2 cups sugar
2 tsps. vanilla
2 cups potato starch
2 tsps. baking powder
confectioners’ sugar, for rolling
Using an electric mixer, beat together oil, cocoa, and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine. Add vanilla, potato starch, and baking powder. Beat until batter reaches peanut butter consistency. Refrigerate batter, covered, for 1-2 days. Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a small cookie scoop to form balls. Roll each ball in confectioners’ sugar. Place onto cookie sheets, 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 minutes — don’t over-bake, as cookies will harden as they cool. Cool on cookie sheets for 10 minutes before removing.
This article originally appeared in Passover Palate, a Jewish Exponent supplement. Photos by David Ticktin, courtesy Shaar Press