Passover First Course

Potato Zucchini Pancakes

Potato+Zucchini+Pancakes.jpg

Makes about 4 dozen bite size pancakes. 

This dish is a nutritious, delicious and light addition to your Passover repertoire. I am quite proud of this recipe. I bake the pancakes and do not fry them. I am thus spared the cooktop mess. I do recommend using heavy non-stick cookie sheets.

In addition they can be baked earlier in the day and reheated. They can also be frozen.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 medium zucchini

  • 2 large Russet (baking) potatoes

  • 2 large eggs, whisked

  • 4 tablespoons matzoh meal

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper   

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

PREPARATION:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. 

  2. Finely chop the onion in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Transfer to a large bowl.  

  3. Rinse the zucchini, pat dry, trim the ends, grate in a food processor fitted with the medium grating attachment. Wring out the zucchini, in batches, using a sturdy dish towel. Add to the onions. 

  4. Peel the potatoes, and cut them lengthwise into quarters to fit into the feed tube of a food processor and grate. Wring them, in batches, using a dish towel and add to the zucchini along with eggs and the matzoh meal. Combine well and season to taste.  

  5. Brush 2 heavy non-stick cookie sheets with the 4 tablespoons of oil.

  6. Place level tablespoons, slightly apart, on the greased cookie sheets. 

  7. Bake on the lowest shelf for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.  Turn the pancakes over and bake for another 6 minutes, or until lightly golden.

NOTE:

TO WARM the pancakes, arrange them on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet in a preheated 350F oven until hot, about 6 minutes. The wire rack prevents the pancakes from getting soggy.  

TO FREEZE the pancakes, place them side by side in a plastic container with wax paper in between the layers. Warm the pancakes straight from the freezer in a preheated 400F oven for about 10 minutes, or until hot.    

 
 


Vegetable Soup

Makes 8 servings. 

This is a hearty, very thick, nutritious vegetable soup.

Cutting so many vegetables the same size is a bit time consuming which I certainly do not want to impose on anyone.  My solution is to chop all of the vegetables, SEPARATELY, in a food processor. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 baking potato
  • ¼ pound string beans
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Truffle oil for garnish, optional

PREPARATION:

  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, pour over boiling water, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove reconstituted mushrooms and squeeze dry all the liquid back to the bowl. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine mesh sieve and set aside (if you do not have a fine mesh sieve line what you have with paper towel). Chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Chop the onion and the garlic semi-coarsely in a food processor. Be sure to quarter the vegetables first.
  3. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Add the reserved mushrooms.                      
  5. Peel the carrot and the potato, cut into large pieces and chop semi- coarsely, SEPARATELY, in a food processor. Add to the pan.                      
  6. For the string beans, zucchini, cauliflower, and parsley, trim the vegetables where needed, cut into large pieces and chop semi-coarsely SEPARATELY in a food processor.  Add to the pan.
  7. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and the vegetable broth to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook gently, covered, for about ½ an hour. The vegetables should be soft.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve with drops of truffle oil.
 
 

Matzo Balls

Makes about 20 mini balls.

When you think of Eastern European dishes, Matzo Balls come to mind. There are many variations. They can be made with or without fat; they can be firm or light; they can be boiled in chicken stock or water. I like mine small, semi- fluffy, and cooked either in chicken stock or water flavored with a consommé cube. I prefer this method because matzo balls absorb a lot of liquid while they cook. Plain water does not impart any flavor.  I also like to serve 2-3 matzo balls per person.  A slightly different version of this recipe first appeared in my cookbook, Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine.  And if you need a great recipe for chicken soup, you can find one in the same cookbook.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ½ cup, plus 1 generous tablespoon of matzo meal (See Note)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon bubbly water, such as Pellegrino
  • Kosher salt,
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups either chicken stock or water flavored with a consommé cube (See Note)

PREPARATION

  1. Beat egg whites until just foamy, not stiff. Add yolks and continue beating combined well.
  2. Gradually add matzo meal and mix with a rubber spatula, always reaching the bottom of the bowl. Add oil, water and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, depending how firm you like them.
  3. Bring the chicken stock or water flavored with consommés cube to a boil and let it simmer.
  4. With the smallest ice cream scooper -- number 00 (less than 1 tablespoon) form full balls and drop directly into simmering stock.
  5. Cook gently, covered for 15 minutes, turning them once.
  6. Remove with a perforated spoon to soup bowls filled with very hot chicken soup.
  7. If you are making the matzo balls ahead of time warm them in the stock. Then drop them into the simmering chicken soup.

NOTE

  1. I buy store bought chicken stock for the purpose of boiling the matzo balls.
  2. I discard the stock in which the matzo balls were cooked.
  3. I tested this recipe using Manischewitz matzo meal.
 
 

Gefilte Fish

Makes 35-40 ovals.  I like to serve 2 per person.

Gefilte fish is the most representative of Jewish dishes and is typically served as a first course on the Sabbath and holiday meals.  It is a bit time consuming to make gefilte fish, but very satisfying.  The ovals in this recipe are soft, pale and well-seasoned.  Make it at least a day ahead to allow the sauce to jell.  I love serving the fish with freshly grated horseradish.  A slightly different version of this recipe first appeared in my cookbook, Helen Nash's New Kosher Cuisine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 pounds white fish
  • 4 pounds pike

Have the fishmonger, bone, fillet the fish and grind them both together to obtain a very smooth texture.  You should have 3 pounds of ground fish.  Save all the trimmings, head, bones and skin for the stock (you may want to ask for more trimmings from only white fish varieties).

FISH OVALS

  • About 3 pounds ground fish
  • 2 medium onions, peeled, quartered and finely grated (See Note)
  • 3 eggs, whisked well
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, aprox
  • 1 ½ tablespoon kosher salt, approx
  • freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup bubbly cold water (such as Pellegrino)

STOCK

  • Fish trimmings
  • 2 onions, peeled, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 10 peppercorns

SAUCE

  • 2 onions, peeled, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, approx
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground white pepper to taste

HORSERADISH

  • About 12 inches of horseradish root
  • 2-3 lemons

PREPARATION

TO MAKE THE FISH OVALS

  1. Place the ground fish in an electric mixer bowl.
  2. Add onions, eggs, sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix with the dough hook, at low speed, adding the bubbly water very, very slowly.  Be patient.
  4. Season to taste and refrigerate while you are cooking and straining the stock.

TO MAKE THE STOCK

  1. I suggest that you use an 11x16 enameled oval pan with a lid to fit the fish in a single layer.
  2. Place the fish trimmings in the pan with the onions, carrot, salt, sugar, peppercorns and 7 cups of cold water.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 75 minutes.
  4. Cool the stock a bit.
  5. Wet a triple layer of paper towels with cold water and squeeze almost dry.
  6. Line a strainer with the towels.  Place the strainer over a bowl and ladle the soup with the trimmings in it.
  7. Squeeze the towel with the trimmings in order to obtain all the liquid and flavor.  You will have to change the towels several time.
  8. Rinse the saucepan and return the stock to it.

TO COOK THE FISH OVALS

  1. Add onions, carrots and seasoning to the stock and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. With an oval (No 30) ice cream scooper, form flat ovals and drop them into the simmering stock. From time to time, wet the ice cream scooper in cold water.
  3. Bring slowly to a boil and simmer covered for 75 minutes.  Shake the pan from time to time and turn the ovals.
  4. Season the sauce to taste.

TO MAKE THE HORSERADISH

  1. Peel the horseradish root, cut into very small cubes and chop finely in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add lemon juice to keep it from darkening.
  2. Store right away in a tight fitting container.

NOTE

Either the fishmonger can grate the onion for you finely or you can do it in the food processor fitted with the steel blade.