Since I was a child, I’ve loved Passover meals. Everything about them is
different – the plates, the flatware and, of course, the food. I
particularly enjoyed the relaxed meals my mother prepared for us on Hol
Hamoed. Many of these meals included a variety of tasty dairy or parve
dishes made with eggs. They remain the Passover specialties that I love
There are so many dishes that I’d like to prepare this
Passover. I will definitely bake my mother’s lemony cottage cheese and
matza kugel studded with dried fruit and nuts. Its sweet flavor and rich
texture remind me of cheesecake.(See recipe.)
This week I would
also like to make my friend Shulamit Wilder’s sweet carrot souffle. She
makes it with carrot puree, sugar, matza cake meal and margarine,
flavors it with nutmeg and vanilla sugar and tops it with glazed pecans.
At her Seder, she served it with the meal; it’s also great for brunch
For breakfast I’ll bake my high-school friend
Debbie’s matza-meal rolls made from a cream-puff-type dough. They taste
so good with scrambled eggs.
I also plan to prepare my friend
Norma Lane’s delicate spinach ricotta gnocchi (Italian dumplings) for a
light supper. She makes them with a little potato starch to hold them
together instead of the usual flour, and serves them topped with melted
butter and grated cheese.
There are all sorts of Passover casseroles that are perfect for a dairy lunch or supper.
eager to try several from The Kosher for Pesach Cookbook by the Aish
Hatorah Women’s Organization in Jerusalem. One casserole, called “Pesach
spinach square,” has cooked spinach mixed with pieces of matza
alternating with layers of sliced yellow cheese and layers of cottage
cheese mixed with whipped eggs and sour cream.
casserole, called simply “potato-cheese dish,” has diced cooked potatoes
baked with a creamy topping of cottage cheese mixed with milk, minced
onion, parsley, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of grated cheese.
Passover is over, I would like to make a frittata, like the one made
from eggplant in The Sephardic Kitchen by Rabbi Robert Sternberg. The
diced eggplant is sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic and baked
with a mixture of feta cheese, yogurt, eggs and matza meal. (See
recipe.) I’m also tempted by the frittata in Meri Badi’s book, 250
Recettes de Cuisine Juive Espagnole. There is an entire chapter devoted
to these specialties, which Badi refers to as “Passover gratins.” Her
chard frittata is made of chopped, cooked chard leaves mixed with
moistened, squeezed matza, white cheese, grated kashkaval cheese and
eggs. She spoons the mixture into a gratin dish coated with sautéed
matza meal and bakes it with a topping of bits of margarine and grated
Parmesan cheese. Badi makes frittatas of spinach and leeks the same way.
When she prepares potato and pumpkin variations, she replaces the matzot with a small amount of matza meal.
dishes, called “sfongo,” are cooked either on top of the stove or in
the oven. Esther Benbassa, author of Cuisine Judeo-Espagnole, makes hers
from a combination of cooked spinach, potato puree and moistened,
crumbled matza flavored with grated cheese and enriched with eggs and
oil. I’m putting it on my shortlist for this year.
But I also
want to make Passover blintzes and knishes, and matza lasagne with
layers of sautéed onions, spinach, tomato sauce and cheese.
Obviously, there aren’t enough days of Passover to make them all. Some dishes will just have to wait until next Passover. LEMON-SCENTED CHEESE KUGEL WITH RAISINS
a dairy Passover menu, this baked pudding can be served as a main
course or as a dessert. It’s made of layers of moistened matza and sweet
cheese filling flavored with nuts and dried fruit. Use any fruits and
nuts that you like. Serve the kugel with yogurt or sour cream.Makes 6 servings
2 cups cottage cheese
3 large eggs
1 ⁄2 tsp salt, or to taste (optional)
1 ⁄3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
1 ⁄2 cup dried cranberries, golden or dark raisins, chopped dates, chopped dried apricots or a mixture
1 ⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
5 to 6 Tbsp. melted butter
oven to 165ºC (325ºF). Soak the whole matzot in enough cold water to
cover them, until they are slightly softened but not mushy, about 1 1⁄2
minutes. Drain thoroughly.
Mix together the cottage cheese, eggs, salt, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, dried fruit and nuts.
about 3 Tbsp of the melted butter into a 20-cm. (8-inch) square baking
dish or cake pan of about 8cup volume. Set 1 whole matza in the pan,
filling in any spaces with pieces from another matza. Spread half the
cheese mixture in the pan. Cover with another layer of matza. Spread the
remaining cheese mixture in the pan.
Top with a layer of matzot. Sprinkle the remaining melted butter on top.
Bake for about 1 hour or until the kugel is set and the top is browned.
Serve hot or lukewarm.EGGPLANT FRITTATA
This recipe is from The Sephardic Kitchen
Author Robert Sternberg notes that using matza meal in a Passover
frittata thickens the finished dish into a kind of quiche; without the
matza meal, it’s more like an omelet. For accompaniments, Sternberg
suggests serving thick yogurt, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and
marinated black olives. He recommends using an oven-proof skillet to
prepare the frittata. If you don’t have one, you can sauté the eggplant,
onion and garlic in a regular skillet and then bake the frittata in a
gratin dish or other baking dish.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 small eggplant (170 to 225 gr. or 6 to 8 ounces), unpeeled
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped (1⁄2 Tbsp)
3 ⁄4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp matza meal
1 ⁄4 cup yogurt
6 extra-large eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
the eggplant into small dice. Place it in a colander in the sink.
Sprinkle evenly with coarse salt. Cover the eggplant with plastic wrap
and place several plates on top of it to weigh it down. Let rest for
11/2 hours. Remove the plates and plastic wrap. Rinse the eggplant,
squeeze it to remove the juices and dry it on paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion in the oil,
stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7
Add the eggplant and sauté, turning constantly, until
nicely browned. Add the garlic and reduce the heat. Cook 1 minute
longer, stirring, and remove from heat. Pour the contents of the skillet
into a mixing bowl.
Add the feta cheese, matza meal, yogurt, eggs, salt and pepper and combine well.
the mixture in the skillet, if it is oven-proof, or in an oiled 6-cup
casserole, for 45 minutes or until the frittata is golden brown. Cut it
into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.Faye Levy is the author of 1,000 Jewish Recipes.