Passover Goes Gourmet
If you've only eaten matzos from a box, homemade ones are a revelation—light, fresh, and totally addictive. And even inexperienced bakers can make them; this recipe from Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen, owners of Beauty's Bagel Shop in Oakland, California, has enough olive oil to make the dough supple and easy to handle.
1. Set a pizza stone on an oven rack and heat oven to 500° for about 45 minutes (if you don't have a pizza stone, set a large baking sheet on a rack and heat until oven is hot).
2. Put 2 1/4 cups flour, kosher salt, and oil in a food processor. With motor running, slowly add 1/2 cup water. Dough will come together into a ball and should feel soft and supple; if it is sticky at all, add more flour, 1 tbsp. at a time.
3. Divide dough into 12 portions. Using a floured rolling pin, roll 1 portion at a time on a well-floured work surface into a round about 8 in. wide and just thin enough to see through. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and press it in with your hands. Prick dough all over with a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up too much).
4. Flour a wooden peel or back of a baking sheet generously and transfer dough to it. Gently slide dough onto hot pizza stone. Bake until matzo is light golden and crisp on each side and a bit darker at the edges, turning once with a wide spatula, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer matzo to a cooling rack and make remaining matzos the same way.
5. Rebake any matzo that isn't crisp in the center, which may be the case if they baked on a baking sheet; put matzos on a rimmed baking sheet, reduce oven heat to 250°, and bake 15 to 25 minutes more.
Sunset APRIL 2012
"My grandmother (safta is Hebrew for grandma) always made this mock liver because she felt it to be healthier than one made with liver and schmaltz (chicken fat)," says Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco. Bloom and Wise Sons co-owner Leo Beckerman put this fresh-tasting pâté on the menu for Passover.
1. Cook onions with oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, hard-cook eggs in another saucepan for 10 minutes and continue with rest of recipe. Drain eggs, rinse under cool water, peel, and quarter.
3. Fill a third saucepan two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and fresh peas, if using, and cook until barely tender, about 3 minutes; if using frozen peas, add during the last minute. Drain vegetables and rinse under cold water until cool.
4. Whirl nuts in a food processor until ground. Add eggs, green beans, peas, and garlic and pulse until mixture is smooth. Add onions (including any oil and juices from cooking), 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper and pulse just until onions are chopped. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if you like. Serve at room temperature, with matzo crackers.
Sunset APRIL 2012
As an answer to gefilte fish from a jar, which can be heavy, gluey, and strong-flavored, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, of Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco, created this very fresh and mild-tasting homemade version for Passover. The gefilte fish have a texture like light matzo balls, and are served with a carrot applesauce; Wise Sons also serves it with fresh horseradish sauce, but we've opted to buy prepared horseradish.
1. Make fumet: Put all ingredients in a 6- to 8-qt. pot. Add about 6 cups water (enough so liquid is just below top of bones). Cover and bring to simmering over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl and discard contents of strainer. Wipe pot clean, add fumet, and let cool. Chill, covered, until used, up to 1 day.
2. Meanwhile, make gefilte fish: In a food processor, pulse fish, onion, celery, and carrot until carrot pieces are about 1/8 in. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, salt, pepper, and oil to blend. Add fish mixture and stir well, then add 3/4 cup matzo meal and continue to stir until well blended. Chill, covered, until cold, about 1 hour.
3. Bring fumet to a gentle boil. Divide fish mixture into 16 equal portions and set on a baking sheet. Using wet hands or 2 soup spoons dipped in cool water, shape each portion of fish mixture into smooth balls or ovals and gently drop into fumet. When all are added, reduce heat to low and simmer until gefilte fish are somewhat springy to touch, about 45 minutes.
4. Transfer gefilte fish to a rimmed platter in a single layer, using a slotted spoon. Strain about 1/4 cup fumet on top, cool, then cover and chill until cold, at least 1 1/2 hours. Save remaining fumet for other uses.
5. Meanwhile, make applesauce: Put apples and carrots in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until carrots are very tender when pierced, about 25 minutes. Purée mixture in a food processor until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper if you like. Let cool to room temperature, or chill.
6. Turn gefilte fish in the fumet on platter to moisten. Set a gefilte fish on each plate with a large spoonful of applesauce and a small spoonful of horseradish next to it. Scatter parsley on top.
*For sustainable fish choices, go to seafoodwatch.com. Find beet-colored horseradish in grocery stores' kosher foods section.
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This classic brisket is slow-braised in the oven with plenty of onions, which get nice and soft and sweet. Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, of the extremely popular Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen in San Francisco, gave us the recipe.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Mix 1 tbsp. salt, pepper, mustard, and thyme together in a small bowl. Rub mixture all over brisket. Heat oil in an oval oven roaster (about 12 in. by 17 in.) or a wide 8-qt. pot* over medium-high heat. Add brisket and cook, turning once, until a dark brown crust forms, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to a plate.
2. Add 2 cups broth to pot and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from bottom of pot. Stir in wine, prunes, and brown sugar. Return brisket to pot, fat side down, and cover with onions and garlic. Cover pot and put in oven. Cook for 3 hours, turning meat halfway through. Turn meat again and add remaining cup broth and carrots to pot. Cook, covered, until carrots are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool, then chill overnight (to firm meat).
3. Preheat oven to 350°. Skim fat from pan juices and discard it. Transfer brisket to a cutting board and slice across the grain. Fan out meat slices in a large roasting pan. Using a slotted spoon, arrange onions, carrots, and prunes over meat.
4. Boil juices remaining in pot over high heat about 10 minutes to reduce somewhat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups of juices over meat (save the rest for soup), cover roasting pan tightly with foil, and bake until meat is hot, about 45 minutes.
5. Transfer meat to a large platter, using a wide spatula. Spoon onions, carrots, prunes, and some of juices on top and serve with horseradish.
*Schmaltz is available at the butcher counter of some markets, and at some butcher shops. If you don't have a pot big enough for the whole brisket, cut it in half and stack the two halves in the pot; when you add the onions, add enough additional liquid (about 2 more cups broth and the rest of the bottle of wine) so the meat is covered by three-quarters.
Sunset APRIL 2012
Safta's Mock Liver (Green Bean and Pea Pâté)
Wise Sons' Gefilte Fish
Red Wine and Onion-Braised Passover Brisket
After years of jarred gefilte fish, one woman discovers a Seder meal worth eating.
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