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New Traditions: An Innovative Passover Seder
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
07/04/2014
This Passover, try serving traditional Seder dishes with a twist, transforming them into modern upscale delights.
 
Efrat Libfroind, an acclaimed pastry chef and graduate of elite international cooking schools, is a haredi woman from Jerusalem, mother of seven, who against all odds became a leading chef and cookbook writer, as well as sought-after lecturer and owner of a catering business. Her latest book, Efrat Libfroind Serves Pesach, was published recently in time for the holiday. We chose five recipes from this clear, beautifully laid-out book, which we hope will soon be published in English as well (148 pages, NIS 128).
 
SALMON-GEFILTE FISH ON A BED OF BEETROOT CARPACCIO
Makes 30 small patties

Traditionally gefilte fish is made from carp, but Libfroind thinks that the pink salmon will give the traditional recipe a pretty twist. Of course, you can always replace the salmon with the carp using the same recipe.
 
For the patties
✔ 1 kg. fresh salmon fillet, bones removed, sliced into thick slices
✔ Salt, sugar and pepper – to season to fish before grinding
✔ ½ cup matza meal or almond flour (ground almonds)
✔ 2 small onions, chopped, sautéed
✔ 4 eggs
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ 1 tsp. pepper
✔ 2 heaping Tbsp. sugar

For the fish stock
✔ Heads and bones from the fish
✔ 3 carrots, sliced
✔ 2 onions, sliced
✔ 5 celery stalks, sliced
✔ 2 bay leaves
✔ 3 garlic cloves
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ 2 heaping Tbsp. sugar
✔ 1 tsp. pepper
✔ 2 liters water

For the beetroot carpaccio
✔ 2 small beets, peeled
✔ 4 Tbsp. sugar
✔ 4 Tbsp. vinegar
✔ 2 cups water
✔ ¼ tsp. pepper

To prepare the fish: Place fish slices on a large tray and season with salt, pepper and a little sugar.
 
Leave for 30 minutes, and then wash the fish lightly.
 
Grind the fish in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate the fish mixture covered, for 1 hour.
 
Wet your palms and shape the fish mixture into small patties and refrigerate. Alternatively, divide the mixture into 3 or 4 parts, roll each part into a small cylinder and refrigerate.
 
In a large pot, bring all the stock ingredients to a boil. Slide the patties (or rolls) into the boiling stock and cook for 40 minutes over low heat. Turn heat off and let the patties cool while in the stock.

When completely cooled, transfer the patties to a container, strain some of the stock on the patties and reserve the carrots for garnish.
 
To prepare beets: Slice the beetroots very thinly and place in a pot. Add sugar, vinegar, water and black pepper and bring to a boil.
 
Cook for 2 minutes and remove from heat.
 
Transfer the beets to a container, pour the marinade over and refrigerate until serving.
 
To serve: Place 3 or 4 slices of the beets on a serving plate, sprinkle with a little kosher salt and pepper and top with 1 patty or 2 or 3 slices of the fish roll.
 
CHICKEN SOUP WITH GREEN NOODLES
Serves 20

Try adding interest to your chicken soup by adding green-colored Passover noodles bursting with herbal flavors.
 
Prepare the omelets beforehand and slice into very thin strips when you are ready to serve.
 
For the soup
✔ 1 chicken, cut
✔ 300 gr. beef, cubed
✔ 2 onions, halved
✔ 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
✔ 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced
✔ 200 gr. pumpkin, peeled and cubed
✔ 1 kohlrabi, peeled and cubed
✔ 2 celery heads, peeled
✔ 2 parsley roots, peeled
✔ ½ leek chopped coarsely
✔ 3 celery stalks
✔ Bunch parsley
✔ 5 liters water
✔ 2 heaping tsp. salt
✔ ½ tsp. pepper

For the noodles
✔ 5 eggs
✔ 3 heaping Tbsp. potato flour
✔ ¼ tsp. salt
✔ Pinch pepper
✔ 1 tsp. sugar
✔ ¼ cup oil
✔ ½ cup parsley leaves
✔ ¾ cup to 1 cup warm water
✔ A little oil for frying

To prepare soup: Cook chicken and beef in boiling water for 5 minutes, and strain.
 
In a large pot, bring 5 liters of water to boil, add chicken and beef and bring to a boil again. If there is any foam, remove it.
 
Add all the vegetables and simmer gently for 4 hours.
 
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Remove from heat, let cool and strain into a clean pot or container. For an extra-clear soup, strain through gauze.
 
To prepare noodles: Blend all the ingredients in a food processor.
 
Lightly oil a 24-26 cm. skillet and fry thin omelets. Let cool and slice into thin strips.
 
Before serving: Heat the noodles and serve in the soup.
 
STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST
Makes 6

Libfroind says she likes to prepare extra omelets for the chicken soup and use them as the final layer for these chicken rolls. “I wrap each roll with a green omelet, and slice. The omelets stick to the glaze, and the result is very impressive,” she says. The chicken rolls are just as good without the extra layer.
 
✔ 6 clean chicken breasts, flat as for schnitzel

For the stuffing
✔ 600 gr. ground beef or chicken
✔ ¼ cup roasted almonds, chopped
✔ ¼ cup prunes, chopped (optional)
✔ ¼ cup dried apricots
✔ ¼ cup roasted walnuts
✔ 2 Tbsp. oil
✔ 1 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
✔ ½ tsp. salt
✔ ½ tsp. pepper For the glaze
✔ ¼ cup oil
✔ 3 cloves garlic, minced
✔ 1 tsp. sweet paprika
✔ 2 Tbsp. honey
✔ 1 Tbsp. silan
✔ Pinch salt
✔ Pinch pepper

Mix all stuffing ingredients together.
 
Spread plastic wrap on a clean working surface and lay a chicken breast on top. Place a little stuffing at one end of the breast, and roll the breast with the plastic, wrapping it like a candy and twisting the ends tightly so they will not open while cooking. Prepare all the breasts the same way.
 
Boil water in a wide pot. Place the wrapped chicken rolls in the boiling water and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until chicken is white.
 
Remove from the pot and let cool a little.
 
Heat oven to 200°.
 
Remove the plastic wrap from the rolls and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
 
Mix the glazing ingredients together until smooth. Rub the rolls with the glaze and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool a little and slice.
 
Note: To add pizzazz, prepare 6 green omelets (see recipe for green noodles for the chicken soup), wrap each roll with an omelet tightly and slice.
 
POTATO AND SWEET-POTATO TERRINE

Adding an outer layer of sweet potato will upgrade any filling. Here, good old mashed potatoes get a new look. This same terrine can be filled with anything; but if you use a chicken or meat filling, it will require longer baking time.
 
For the outer layer ✔ 2 long, thin sweet potatoes For the filling ✔ 6 medium-size red potatoes ✔ 2 onions, chopped and sautéed until transparent ✔ 1 medium leek, chopped and sautéed in 2 Tbsp. oil ✔ ½ tsp. salt ✔ 1 clove garlic, minced ✔ ¼ tsp. pepper Cook the potatoes in their skins until tender. Strain, peel and mash until smooth.
 
Add the fried onions, leeks, garlic and seasoning.
 
Mix well.
 
Peel the sweet potatoes. Using a vegetable peeler, continue peeling thin strips. Create long, thin strips. Fill a large bowl with boiling water; place the strips in boiling water and leave to soften for 4 minutes. Strain.
 
Heat the oven to 180°.
 
Grease a loaf baking form and line with the sweet-potato strips. Fill with the mashed potatoes and push well. Fold over any ends of the sweet potato. Bake the terrine about 15 minutes. Let cool and remove from oven.
 
Carefully turn onto a serving plate. Slice and serve warm or cold.
 
CRUNCHY APPLE CRUMBLE
Serves 15

This is a delicious take on the familiar apple kugel that Libfroind serves her family every Shabbat. The golden color and wonderful taste will soon win over your family as well. It can be baked ahead of time and frozen.
 
For the crumble
✔ 2 cups potato flour
✔ 1 cup ground walnuts or almonds
✔ 2 eggs
✔ ¾ cup nut oil
✔ ¾ cup sugar
✔ Pinch salt
✔ ½ tsp. cinnamon
✔ ½ cup peeled almonds, chopped coarsely

For the apple filling
✔ 6 apples
✔ ½ cup sugar
✔ ½ tsp. cinnamon
✔ 2 Tbsp. nut oil
✔ 1 cup strawberry or raspberry jam

To prepare crumble: With a mixer or by hand, mix together all the ingredients until mixture is crumbly.
 
To prepare apples: Peel and core the apples, then dice them. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
 
Heat the oven to 180°.
 
Lightly oil a 20x30 cm. baking dish.
 
Spread half of the crumble mixture in the baking dish and bake for 10 minutes. Remove dish from the oven, spread the apple mixture evenly, and top with the rest of the crumble.
 
Return to the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
 
Let cool a little and cut the crumble into squares. The crumble will keep well in the freezer.

Recipes and photos courtesy of Efrat Libfroind and Siman Kria publishing (www.siman-kria co.il)
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