Spring fresh

This Passover, prepare aromatic, light and colorful dishes.

Leek patties with tehina (photo credit: GAL DEREN)
Leek patties with tehina
(photo credit: GAL DEREN)
Chef Sahar Raphael has created a modern and gourmet take on traditional Passover dishes, including fish, lamb and green vegetables.
Raphael is the chef and owner of the Cramim restaurants in Moshav Segula and in Beersheba. His cuisine is inspired by classical French techniques combined with influences from North African and Mediterranean cuisines. His meticulously prepared and delicious food has been luring returning diners to his two eateries for the past 14 years.
Raphael likes to cook with seasonal produce that he picks fresh from the fields surrounding his restaurant. He regularly holds theme-evenings at his eateries. The Cramim restaurants are the leading gourmet restaurants in the South.
The recipes Raphael suggested for this coming Passover are light and flavorful – the right kind of food to serve on what promises to be a warm Seder night. Enjoy!
Serves 4
✔ 1 carrot
✔ 1 kohlrabi
✔ 1 parsley root
✔ 1 celeriac root
✔ 3 radishes
✔ 1 small pomegranate
✔ Handful of arugula leaves
For the vinaigrette
✔ ½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
✔ 2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
✔ Salt and pepper
Julienne the carrot, kohlrabi, parsley root, celeriac root and radishes into thin strips.
Deseed the pomegranate and mix everything together in a bowl.
Whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients, taste and adjust seasonings. Toss salad with enough vinaigrette and serve. If you have vinaigrette leftover, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Serves 4-6 (about 20 patties)
The smoked paprika and the lemony flavor of the tehina make these a delicious dish for all year round.
✔ 3 leeks, white part only, sliced very thin
✔ 2 potatoes, peeled and grated
✔ 4 eggs
✔ ½ cup matza meal
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
✔ ½ Tbsp. cumin
✔ ½ bunch parsley, chopped
✔ ½ cup raw tehina
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ ½ cup water
In a bowl, mix together leek, potatoes and eggs. Add the matza meal and season with salt and pepper. Add the paprika and parsley, mix well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the tehina dressing by stirring together the tehina, water and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt to taste.
Heat a little oil in a skillet and drop two tablespoons of batter at a time into the pan.
Fry the patties for two minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels and serve with tahini on the side.
Serves 6
A very colorful and rich rice to be served for a holiday meal.
✔ ¼ cup canola oil
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ 1 medium onion, chopped
✔ 1 carrot, chopped
✔ 1 orange pepper, chopped
✔ 1 celery rib, chopped
✔ 3 cups rice
✔ 1 Tbsp. salt
✔ 3 Tbsp. cranberries
✔ Handful of chopped parsley
✔ 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped
✔ ½ Tbsp. sweet paprika
✔ 5 cups boiling water
In a pot, heat the canola and olive oils.
Add the onions and sauté until transparent.
Add the carrot, pepper and celery and stir-fry for two minutes. Add the rice to the pot and lower the heat. Season with salt and stir the rice and vegetables to mix. Add the cranberries and the herbs, and then the boiling water. Stir and cover. Cook over very low heat for 18 minutes. Turn heat off but leave the lid on for 10 minutes. Serve.
Serves 6-8
✔ 1 grouper weighing about 2 kg., scaled
✔ 1 head of broccoli, separated into florets
✔ 200 gr. green beans, ends trimmed
✔ 3 zucchini, coarsely chopped
✔ 100 gr. green broad beans
✔ 4 asparagus spears, sliced coarsely
✔ 1 Persian pickled lemon
✔ 1 green pepper, sliced
✔ 3 sprigs rosemary
✔ ½ cup olive oil
✔ ½ head of garlic, sliced horizontally
✔ Coarse salt
✔ Pepper
Preheat oven to 200°.
Place the fish on a clean work surface and make four diagonal slits along the body on both sides. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil on both sides.
Place in a baking dish.
Arrange all the vegetables and beans around the fish, add the pickled lemon and rosemary and sprinkle coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper on the vegetables. Drizzle some more olive oil on the vegetables.
Wrap the dish well with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove the foil. Using a tablespoon, baste the fish with liquids that accumulated in the bottom.
Return the fish to the oven – uncovered – to cook for 10 more minutes.
When cooked, drizzle lemon juice over the fish and serve.
Serves 6
✔ 6 lamb shanks (total weight 300-400 gr.)
✔ ¼ cup canola oil
✔ 2 onions, chopped
✔ 1 carrot, chopped
✔ 1 celeriac root, peeled and chopped
✔ 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only
✔ 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
✔ 1 Tbsp. sugar
✔ ½ Tbsp. sweet paprika
✔ 1 cup dry red wine
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ 1 root of parsley, peeled and sliced
✔ 1 kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
✔ 6 radishes
✔ 1 carrot, sliced
✔ 1 potato, peeled and sliced
In a wide pot, heat oil and sear the meat on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
Add the chopped onion, carrot and celeriac root into the pot and sauté until golden.
Add the rosemary leaves, tomato paste, sugar and paprika and stir to combine. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper.
Return the lamb to the pot and add just enough water to cover. Taste, adjust the seasoning and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for two hours. After two hours, add the vegetables and cook for an additional hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serves 6
✔ 1 kg. fresh green beans
✔ ¼ cup olive oil
✔ 200 gr. roasted cashew nuts, halved
✔ 5 cloves garlic, minced
✔ Handful of parsley leaves
✔ Juice of 1 lemon
✔ Coarse salt
Trim the ends of the green beans and wash them well.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the beans briefly before transferring them to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or wok.
Add the beans, garlic and cashews. Season with salt and pepper and the chopped parsley. Lower the heat and cook for five minutes while stirring. Add the lemon juice and sprinkle a little coarse salt on top. 
The recipes and photos are courtesy of Chef Sahar Raphael and Cramim restaurant.
Cramim Dereh Ha Goren, Sgula, (08) 850- 5859 and Cramim Derekh Hebron 66, Beersheba (08) 996-6444.