Rosh Hashanah is catching many people by surprise this year.
Falling on the heels of Labor Day weekend, the Jewish New Year begins on the eve of Sept. 6 — when you’re usually winding down from vacation. Summer is hardly over. You haven’t put away the beach towels for the season.
Because the temperature hovers on the high side, it’s too hot to crank up the oven.
Yet you want to celebrate the Jewish New Year in a respectful, festive way. You want the holiday to be as special as it’s always been. Although you usually rely on make-ahead Rosh Hashanah foods, a new strategy would be more helpful at this point. Forget labor-intensive recipes that require a lot of work, long lists of ingredients and complicated directions. You don’t have time for that.
Now that summer is colliding with fall, you need a menu that is quick and refreshing. You need elegant recipes that come together at the last minute — recipes that exude simplicity and keep you calm as you prepare easy, yet stunning, foods at this busy time of year you never saw coming.
Cold Poached Salmon | Parve
Equipment: a fish poacher, a wok with a rack or a deep sauté pan fitted with a rack and lid
1 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
2 cups water
3 branches of fresh dill,
plus more for garnish
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
Nonstick vegetable spray.
2½-pound piece of salmon fillet
Kosher salt to taste
1 lemon, sliced
Into the bottom of the fish poacher, wok or sauté pan, place the white wine, water, three branches of dill, onion and garlic. Spray the top side of the rack with nonstick spray and put it in place.
Place the salmon on the rack, skin side down. Sprinkle it generously with salt. Place the lid on top. On a high flame, bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and steam on a fast simmer for 10 minutes, or until the salmon flakes when a knife point is inserted into the thickest part.
Using a wide spatula, carefully move the salmon to a platter and cool it to room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, or up to 24 hours.
When ready to serve, garnish the salmon with a generous amount of dill fronds and sliced lemon. Serve with Dijon Mustard Sauce (below).
Dijon Mustard Sauce | Parve
½ cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise
¼ cup Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Place the ingredients in a small bowl and mix them together with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.
Tomato Cantaloupe Salad | Parve
1 small cantaloupe
1 English cucumber or hothouse cucumber
2 mini sweet peppers (either orange or yellow)
15-20 mint leaves
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Core the tomatoes. Cut them into 8 slices. Then cut the slices in half into wedges. Remove the cantaloupe seeds and dice it into ¾-inch pieces. Cut the cucumber in half and remove the seeds. Dice it into ¾-inch pieces. Cut the tops off of the peppers. Under cold water, rinse out the seeds.
Cut the peppers into thin rings.
After cutting up the produce ingredients, place them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the mint, olive oil and salt. Toss the ingredients until they are well combined.
The recipe can be served immediately or refrigerated for 12 hours before serving.
Radish Salad | Dairy
2 bunches of radishes, cleaned and sliced
4 tablespoons white vinegar
¾ cup sour cream
1 bunch of scallions, sliced
2 tablespoons dill, chopped
Salt to taste
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. The sour cream will loosen and become as liquid as salad dressing. Serve immediately or chill and serve a couple of hours later.