An Easy Purim Dinner

Spinach and mozzarella frittatafotocebela / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Purim is a joyous holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil, survival over adversity and the defeat of a dangerous enemy. Traditionally, Purim parties are boisterous and large.

Purim starts on Thursday evening, Feb. 25. But because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Purim party is likely to be smaller than the usual crowd of revelers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still advises limiting the size of gatherings. Although the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available, it is wise to invite only immediate family and people in your pod.

However, this offers the opportunity for a cozy, casual evening, calling for a carefree dinner that pays homage to foods in the Purim story.

The story’s setting is ancient Persia, where King Ahasuerus throws a contest to select his wife. Mordecai, a respected member of the Jewish community, tells his niece Esther to enter. Smitten by her beauty, the king chooses Esther. But as queen, Esther finds herself in a predicament. No one at the court knows she is Jewish. How can she keep kosher? Thinking quickly, the queen becomes a vegetarian, eating chickpeas and seeds.

Soon Queen Esther learns that Haman, the king’s chief adviser, is plotting to annihilate the Jews. She foils his plot and arranges for Haman to be hung on the gallows he’d planned for the Jews.

Honoring Queen Esther, the ideal Purim menu is vegetarian, brimming with beans and seeds. These informal foods set the tone for a relaxed evening. The most fitting dessert are hamantaschen, triangular in shape, just like Haman’s hat.

To rejoice the defeat of a murderous enemy, shake groggers and make noise every time someone shouts Haman’s name. Keep the wine flowing. Less people doesn’t mean less fun.

Spinach and Mozzarella Frittata | Dairy
Serves 4-6

Equipment: 8-inch cast-iron skillet
2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil,
or more if needed
5-ounce container fresh
baby spinach
4 large eggs
Kosher salt to taste
1 small onion, diced fine
3 ounces of mozzarella, cut into small pieces and sliced thin

Preheat the broiler. If the broiler feature is inside of your oven, place a rack in the center of the oven, close the door and turn on the broiler.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot on a medium flame. Put in the spinach in two or three batches. Stir the spinach after each addition until wilted but not cooked through. Add more oil, at any point, if needed. Cool to warm.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the salt until foamy. Reserve.
On a medium flame, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet until warm. Using the handle, tilt the skillet so the oil covers the bottom evenly. Add the onion and sauté until fragrant and sweating, about two minutes.

Briskly whisk the egg mixture again until fluffy. Add the spinach and stir. Pour the eggs into the skillet. Place the mozzarella evenly around the skillet. Shake the skillet so the eggs move evenly between the ingredients. Leave the skillet on the flame until the eggs are set at the bottom but loose at the surface.

Using an oven mitt, move the skillet to the preheated broiler. Broil for about 5 minutes, checking often, until the eggs are completely set and golden brown. The edges may begin to curl. Remove from the oven and cut into pie-shaped pieces. Serve immediately.

Warm Chickpea Salad | Pareve
Serves 4-6

1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh basil
1 (8-ounce) can of chickpeas
¼ cup olive oil, or more
if needed
¼ cup red wine vinegar,
or more if needed
Kosher salt to taste

Chop the parsley and basil until fine. Reserve.

Place the can of chickpeas, liquid and all, into a medium sized pot. Heat on a medium flame until the chickpeas soften and are heated through. Place a colander in the sink. Drain the chickpeas in the colander, letting the liquid go down the drain. Move chickpeas to an attractive bowl.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt, parsley and basil. Gently toss until ingredients are combined. If the chickpeas are a little dry, add more oil and vinegar. Serve immediately.

Escarole and Sunflower Seed Salad | Pareve
Serves 4-6

¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 large head of escarole
1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried in paper towels
Kosher salt to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil

Place aluminum foil on the tray of a toaster oven. Spread the sunflower seeds over the foil. Bake the seeds at 350 degrees for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Check often so they don’t burn. This can be made in the oven, too. Cool to room temperature.

Break off all the escarole leaves. Rinse them well under cold water. Cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Dry them in a salad spinner or shake them in paper towels. Move the leaves to a salad bowl. Add the sunflower seeds and remaining ingredients and toss until the escarole is coated. Serve immediately.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here