By Merle Exit
Are you looking for some Passover alternatives to the usual Seder fare?
Tradition has you eating items such as gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, and a number of other “same old, same old” items, but why not change the menu options to tantalize your palate, especially since there are two consecutive Seder dinners to enjoy?
A tuna and salmon tartare could be an alternative to gefilte fish. For this, you must purchase “sushi grade” fish. You can get this at any fish market, including Crossbay Seashell Seafood in Howard Beach. Call ahead to make sure they have it available. Add chopped avocado, cucumbers, and a bit of vinegar. You can also top it with julienned mangoes.
Fish filets of salmon and either sea bass or scrod can prove to be really tasty for both the taste buds and the eyes by decorating the plate. Prepare an avocado mash and place chopped red peppers and red onions in between the dollops, position it alongside the fish.
Rather than spend the day preparing chicken soup and matzo balls, how about a zucchini soup, instead? A red onion, two chopped potatoes, four chopped zucchinis and five cups of vegetable broth will do. Use an immersion blender or puree in a food processor after it’s cooked. You can always top it with some shredded chicken.
Crepes are great to have for either a savory part of your main meal or dessert. For that, you will need eggs, potato starch, water, sugar and oil for frying. You can prepare and refrigerate for about five days or freeze for about two months. After they are cooled, place between layers of wax paper and paper towel inside a heavy duty zip-top plastic bag.
Gnocchi is another prep-and-freeze idea for either a dairy or meat dish. Potatoes, potato starch and an egg are all you will need. Check out a recipe book for directions. How about gnocchi with wild mushroom or meat sauce? If you are cooking dairy, top the mushrooms with grated cheese. You can also use the gnocchi in a soup as a substitute for the matzo balls.
Jewish people from Spain, Italy, North Africa, Portugal and the Middle East, who are considered Sephardic, are open to using different grains than those who are Ashkenazic, from Eastern Europe. Rice, corn, millet, dried beans, lentil, peas, and peanuts are some ingredients that can be used in Sephardic Passover meals.
Chicken fricassee is a great main dish for a family Seder and the leftovers can be enjoyed a few days after. It is a combination of meatballs and chicken wings. Be creative in the herbs and spices to give it a different country flavor. Serve it over a tasty rice, such as jasmine.
Here is another one for you: lamb kebab in tahini sauce and tomato salsa. Lamb is fine as long as it is not roasted. Marinate the lamb with garlic, olive oil and sumac. Refrigerate for a few hours or even overnight. Prepare tahini sauce by combining the tahini paste with garlic, cold water, lemon juice and chopped mint. For the salsa, use chopped tomatoes, jalapeno pepper (seeded and finely chopped), lemon juice and cilantro. Place the cooked kebab over rice, drizzle the tahini sauce and top with the salsa.
If you are preparing a dairy meal, how about quiche? There are a number of cheeses that are kosher for Passover — including mozzarella for an eggplant parmesan. Cream up your vegetable soups or add some potatoes and sour cream to a bottle of borscht.
How about a Greek salad with grape tomatoes, diced cucumbers, thinly sliced red onions, yellow bell peppers, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese?
Now we come to desserts. If you want to avoid dairy, there is a dessert where you beat egg whites with a sugar until stiff peaks form. Then you beat the yolks in a second bowl with oil, ground almonds, dissolved instant coffee and potato starch. old in the egg white mixture, place in a pan and bake. It will certainly melt in your mouth.
And don’t forget the mandatory four cups of wine.
*Some food ideas were taken from the book, “A Taste of Pesach 2.”