Chef and best-selling author Paula Shoyer guarantees her annual recommendations for the Passover season will live up to the holiday’s culinary tradition while simultaneously enlivening your seder.
Chef and best-selling author Paula Shoyer has made an annual habit of gracing our pages each Passover season with recommendations that she guarantees will live up to the holiday’s culinary tradition while simultaneously enlivening your seder.
All of the recipes are courtesy of Shoyer’s book, “The New Passover Menu” (Sterling Epicure, February 2015).
Seder Plate Salad
Advance prep: dressing and lamb may be made two days in advance
Equipment: cutting board, knives, measuring cups and spoons, small saucepan, tongs, small bowl, whisk, large serving bowl
This is Paula Shoyer’s version of a French niçoise salad with lamb instead of tuna. It contains the ritual components of the seder plate and table. The dressing is made from kosher sweet wine and maror (the bitter herb, in this case, white horseradish), creating a creamy pink dressing. This salad also makes a nice lunch or light dinner during chol hamoed, the non-Yom Tov intermediate days of Passover.
Ingredients for the salad:
2 pieces of lamb shoulder (about 20 oz. total)
2 tsps. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
⅓ cup walnut halves, roughly chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 apples (Red Delicious, Fuji, or Gala), cored and cut into ¾-inch cubes
3 large eggs, hard-boiled and quartered
Ingredients for the dressing:
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tsp. white horseradish
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsps. sweet kosher wine
Salt and black pepper
1. Preheat oven to broil or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
2. To make the lamb: Rub the lamb shoulder pieces with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil or grill for four to five minutes per side for medium rare, or until desired doneness. Let cool for five minutes and, if serving immediately, slice into thin, two-inch-long pieces. If making in advance, wait to slice the lamb until after reheating. The lamb may be roasted two days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.
3. To make the salad dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white horseradish, sugar, and wine until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. The dressing may be made two days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.
4. To assemble the salad: Place the romaine pieces in a large bowl. Add the celery and parsley and toss to combine. Sprinkle the walnuts and apples on top and arrange the egg quarters around the perimeter of the bowl. Scatter the lamb pieces on top. To serve, scoop some of everything onto each plate and drizzle with the dressing.
Seared Tuna With Olives And Capers
Advance prep: may be made one day in advance
Equipment: measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, knives, large frying pan, silicone spatula
Paula’s family consumes a lot of sushi, so everyone is thrilled when she has seared tuna on the menu at her house. It is the quickest main dish to prepare if you, like her children, enjoy fresh tuna pretty raw; it cooks in minutes. The olive and caper relish has strong flavors, so she often serves it on the side. Several companies certify capers for Passover, but if you cannot find them, substitute green olives.
4 tuna steaks
(6 ounces/170g each)
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried thyme
3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsps. chopped red onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
3 tbsps. capers, drained, or green olives, cut into ¼-inch pieces
⅓ cup green or black olives (or a combination), cut into long slivers
½ tsp. sugar
1. Sprinkle both sides of the tuna steaks with the basil, thyme, and pepper to taste. Heat a large frying pan over high heat (do not add any oil). When the pan is hot, add the tuna steaks and cook for one to 1.5 minutes on each side, just long enough to sear the outside. Leave the center raw, unless you prefer tuna cooked all the way through.
2. Remove the tuna steaks to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the oil. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring often. Add the capers, olives, sugar, and pepper to taste, and cook for one minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Place the tuna steaks on a cutting board and slice into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices on a platter and sprinkle the caper and olive mixture on top, or serve it alongside in a small bowl.
Advance Prep: may be made four days in advance and stored covered at room temperature
Equipment: measuring cups and spoons, large bowl, electric mixer, eight-inch round tart pan (with or without a removable bottom) or pie pan, medium bowl, two cookie sheets, silicone spatula, rolling pin, knife or pastry wheel, long knife or metal spatula, pastry brush or hands to glaze top of dough with egg white.
You can make this dessert with any flavor jam you like. Paula suggests spreading red jam on half the crust and apricot jam on the other half. She uses a pastry cutter, a small fluted wheel on a handle, to cut the dough strips to achieve a ridged look, but you can use a knife instead. The crust requires three cups of three different kinds of ground nuts; if you do not have enough of one type, you can substitute another.
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
1 ½ cups ground almonds
1 cup ground walnuts
½ cup ground hazelnuts (with or without skins)
½ cup potato starch
¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 ½ tsps. for sprinkling on top
½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 cup raspberry, apricot, or your favorite jam
1 large egg white, beaten, for glazing
To make the crust:
1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed, beat the margarine until soft, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula once or twice.
2. Add the ground almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts along with the potato starch and granulated sugar and mix. Separate a little more than half the dough and put it into your tart or pie pan. Leave the remaining dough in the bowl.
3. Use your hands to press the dough into the bottom of the pan to cover it and create a 1/3-inch-thick crust on the sides. It’s easiest to press the dough with your fingers into the sides and corners of the pan first and then press the palm of your hand into the bottom of the pan to help cover it with dough. Take a little extra dough from the bowl if needed to cover the bottom. Place the pan in the freezer.
4. Add the confectioners’ sugar to the smaller piece of dough in the bowl and mix it in; the easiest way is to use your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it. Do not worry if the dough is crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic and place it in the freezer for 45 minutes.
To make the tart:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°
2. Remove the tart pan from the freezer and place it on top of a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust just starts to color.
3. Remove the pan from the oven, slide the parchment and tart pan off the cookie sheet, and let it cool for five minutes, or until the dough in the freezer is ready to be rolled out.
4. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with some confectioners’ sugar. Place the dough on top of the paper, sprinkle with more sugar, and cover it with another piece of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll the parchment-covered dough into a 1/3-inch-thick rectangle. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into eight 1-inch strips. Slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and freeze the strips for 10 minutes.
5. Use silicone spatula to spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crust.
6. Remove the dough strips from the freezer and use a long metal spatula or large knife to lift and place the strips across the top of the jam-filled crust to create a lattice. Do not try to bend the strips back to make a perfect over-and-under lattice. Instead, place half the strips in one direction, an inch apart, and then lay the others across them in the other direction. Trim the ends of the dough and press them into the border of the bottom crust. Brush the strips with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1.5 teaspoons granulated sugar.
7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the jam is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Paula Shoyer, a busy mother of four, believes that a healthy kosher diet can include desserts … if they are homemade. A former attorney, she graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris, and now teaches French and Jewish baking classes across the country and around the world. Paula is the author of the best-selling “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy,” “The Holiday Kosher Baker,” and “The New Passover Menu.” She is a contributing editor to several kosher websites such as kosherscoop.com and jewishfoodexperience.com, and magazines such as “Joy of Kosher,” “Whisk,” and “Hadassah.” She also writes for the Washington Post. She lives in Chevy Chase, Md. To learn more about Paula and her ongoing book tour, visit her website at www.thekosherbaker.com.
This article first appeared on JNS.org.