While opulent seder dinners inspire thoughts of freedom and joy, Passover lunches often bring affliction and the bitterness of kitchen slavery more to mind, both for challenged cooks and frustrated eaters.
But Jayne Cohen, author of Jewish Holiday Cooking, suggests that neither bread nor pizza is necessary for a delicious lunch during Passover.
What is often needed, however, is some advance planning. Here are a few ideas along those lines:
• A favorite brown bag lunch can be made from last night’s dinner. Try to prepare extra servings of meatloaf, roast or fried chicken, even grilled tuna.
To make “sandwiches,” pack iceberg or Boston lettuce leaves to be used as wraps. Spice them up with fresh herbs, such as dill or cilantro.
• Flavorful salads (egg or salmon with chopped olives, chicken with grapes and pecans) also make wonderful Passover lunches. Mound the salad in avocado halves, on celery or scooped out red bell peppers or cucumbers (cut the cucumbers in half widthwise and use an apple corer to scoop out the centers, pulp and seeds). Or bring lettuce leaves for wraps.
• For peanut butter junkies going through withdrawal because of kitniyot restrictions try a nut butter. Lightly toast two cups of cashews, almonds or hazelnuts. Let the nuts cool, then pulse them in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add two tablespoons of oil (if you don’t have nut oil, choose another mild one), and a little salt to taste. Continue processing to a puree, either smooth or chunky. Store the butter tightly covered in the refrigerator (preferably upside down, so the oil will flow to the bottom, making it easier to stir when separation occurs — a good idea for peanut butter, as well). Spread the nut butter on matzah, carefully — best bet is on matzah pieces or crackers. It’s especially good on egg matzah. Top with your favorite jam, jelly, honey or thinly sliced bananas. Or serve on sliced apples or pears. Also delicious stuffed in pitted dates for a quick snack or dessert.
• Egg frittatas are great eaten at room temperature or even cold. Prepare a batch for several lunches or make it for dinner so you can have lots of the leftovers.
2 lbs. zucchini, trimmed and scraped clean
2 cups finely chopped onion
3 Tbsps. olive oil,
plus additional oil
for greasing the pan
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
4 large eggs
1 cup of shredded Muenster and grated Parmesan cheese, mixed
3 Tbsps. matzah meal
1⁄4 cup freshly snipped dill
1⁄4 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and light green parts only)
3 Tbsps. chopped fresh mint
Shred the zucchini in a food processor or over the large holes of a band grater.
Transfer the zucchini to a colander, and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of salt.
Weigh the zucchini down with a medium-sized plate or bowl topped with a heavy can and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Rinse off the salt, and using your hands, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the zucchini.
While the zucchini is draining, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat.
Add the onions, salt and pepper lightly, and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent.
Add the drained zucchini and cook, lifting and turning, about 5 minutes, until the zucchini loses it raw look. Let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 350˚.
To make the cheese sauce, mash the feta in a large bowl.
Beat in the eggs, then stir in 3⁄4 cup of the Muenster and Parmesan mixture, matzah meal, dill, scallions and mint.
Add the cooked zucchini and onions to the mixture.
Season, if desired, with additional pepper (it will probably be well salted from the cheese) and mix well.
Grease the bottom and sides of a deep 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet or similar size ovenproof pan.
Put in the zucchini batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese mixture on top.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the frittata is firm and golden-topped and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.