Passover has always tested the ingenuity of even the most creative of Jewish cooks. There are some who, either as a way of “solving the problem” or because they like the tradition of it, serve the same dishes each year on Passover. But I think that most of us like to mix the traditional with the new.
There are certain dishes, such as my matzah balls, matzah brie and brisket, that are on my menu every year, and I wouldn’t change these recipes for anything. But beyond my few must-haves I am always looking for new and interesting dishes to serve.
On a recent visit to the States, my favorite foodie friend Shelly Shaw and I sat discussing Passover and Passover recipes, even though it was just February. Shelly is a fabulous cook, and when she tells me that a recipe is good, I know it will be. The first two recipes below are ones she gave me that I can’t wait to try this Passover.
PASSOVER APPLE RHUBARB COBBLER
Rhubarb generally comes on the market around Passover time and this dish is a great introduction to rhubarb season.
1 1/2 cups potato starch
1 cup matzah meal
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. Passover vanilla sugar
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted Passover margarine or unsalted butter
1/4 cup orange juice
Apple Rhubarb Filling:
6 cups peeled and sliced apples
1 cup coarsely chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. potato starch
Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease a 9×13-in. or 8×10-in. rectangular pan, or a 10-in. springform pan.
Make topping: in a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Cut the margarine or butter into the dry mixture. Stir in the orange juice to make a crumbly topping that just holds together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss all the filling ingredients together.
Sprinkle half the crumble topping over the bottom of the pan and press very slightly. Spoon the fruit filling over this. Sprinkle the remaining crumble topping over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the top is lightly golden (25 to 35 minutes). Cool well in the pan before serving.
Variation: You can substitute cranberries or raspberries for the rhubarb for rosy or tart filling, or substitute apricots (fresh or canned) for a sweeter filling. Serves 12 or more.
It is very important not to skip salting and draining the eggplants. This step prevents the eggplant from absorbing the oil and tasting greasy.
2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-in. slices
salt for sprinkling
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup matzah meal or potato flour
oil for frying
11 oz. marinara sauce or 1 11-oz. can tomato-mushroom sauce and 1/3 cup water, optional, mixed with sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 8-oz. package sliced Swiss cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse slightly and dry. Dip slices in beaten eggs, then in matzah meal or potato flour. Fry on both sides until fork tender. Combine sauce with water and seasonings.
In a greased, 2-quart casserole, place a little sauce, a layer of fried eggplant, and a layer of sliced cheese. Repeat, ending with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Serves 8.