Passover is nearly here — so what do you have cooking?
Before you ransack your kitchen pantry in desperation, there are plenty of easy-to-whip-up dishes perfect for a relaxing at-home dinner for two. That's why we've cooked up our own Dinner For Two series by serving up a mouthwatering menu that's sure to impress your sweetheart — sneakily flavored with aphrodisiac ingredients, like this Passover-themed feast in celebration of the holiday itself.
If there's one thing Passover is about, it's about the food — but this isn't your typical family dinner. The holiday beginning is marked with the seder — a ceremonial meal, on the first night of Passover. In Hebrew, "seder" means "order" referring to the step-by-step ritual that leads up to the sit-down dinner. And the plate of symbolic food is used to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt through the Haggadah.
The holiday we celebrate with our families today is both about the remembrance of struggle and the renewal of life. Celebrate with a salmon filet glazed with date honey and orange, a matzo ball soup, a sweet charoset dessert and a cocktail inspired by the meaning of the holiday itself. (See notes throughout to keep kosher.)
The Drink: Maror
By The Sipping Seder
- 3 oz (90 ml) Belvedere Vodka
- 1 Small Golden Beet, raw, peeled
- 1 Slice Fresh Horseradish, peeled, about the size of a quarter (25 x 25 x 2 mm)
- Fresh Red Beet, raw, peeled, for garnish
1. Cut the golden beets and horseradish into small pieces and muddle thoroughly in a mixing glass with half an ounce (15 ml) of the vodka.
2. Add the remaining vodka to the mixing glass and fill 2/3 full of ice. Shake vigorously.
3. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.
4. Garnish with a stick of red beet (about 1/8" x 3" or 80 x 5 mm) at the moment of serving.
Notes: Use freshest, juiciest red beet possible for a dramatic color transformation. We suggest slipping the beet garnish into the cocktail as you serve it. The red color will begin to bleed out into the yellow liquid immediately. Leave it to your guest to observe or agitate the process as they see fit. See their notes on keeping drinks kosher.
The Appetizer: Matzo Ball Soup
By Elana Horwich of Meal And A Spiel
Note: Start this recipe the day before you plan to serve it. If it is already too late, plan on chilling the matzo ball mix for at as long as you can, three hours at least.
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 4 eggs
- 4 — 5 tablespoons duck fat or schmaltz, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (homemade) chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt plus more for salting cooking water
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger (don't worry, they won't taste like ginger ... it just adds a taste of freshness to the matzo balls)
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped herbs (celery leaves and/or parsley and/or chives and/or cilantro and/or dill)
- 1 quart homemade or boxed chicken broth
- 1 carrot
- 1 piece of celery
- Some parsley or dill to throw into cooking water
- Homemade chicken broth for serving
The Day Before
1. In a small pot, add the 4 tablespoons of homemade chicken broth and set over medium flame until it is reduced in half to 2 tablespoons. Pour into a glass and set in fridge until it reaches room temp.
2. Whisk eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, ginger and chopped herbs in a bowl until well mixed.
3. Stir in matzo meal and reduced chicken broth.
4. Add duck fat or schmaltz and stir in well.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight.
The Day Of
1. In a large pot, set 5 quarts of water along with the boxed or homemade chicken broth, carrot, celery and parsley or dill over a high flame and cover until it comes to a boil.
2. Add a small handful of salt to the boiling water/broth as if it were pasta water ... it should taste salty like the sea.
3. Using wet hands, form the matzo meal into imperfectly shaped balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
4. Place each one in the boiling water/broth. Stir to make sure they don't stick.
5. Cover and cook for 50 minutes.
6. Cut one open to make sure it is fully cooked. If not cook them for a few minutes more.
7. Lift out of water with a slotted spoon and place one or two in a serving bowl.
8. Ladle homemade chicken broth into each bowl.
9. Optional: garnish with a little chopped parsley or dill.
Note: If you are not serving them immediately, just keep drained matzo balls in a covered glass bowl until you are ready to use them.
See additional notes for cooking kosher here.
The Main Dish: Salmon Filet Glazed with Date Honey & Orange
By Executive Chef Andreas Marinkovits of Inbal Jerusalem Hotel
- 800g Salmon fillet, cut to 4 equal sized pieces, with the skin on or off as you prefer.
- Oil for searing
Date Honey & Orange Glaze
- Makes 240ml or 1 cup
- 80ml or 1/3 cup of Silan (Date honey)
- 80ml or 1/3 cup of Orange Juice
- Zest of 1 Orange
- 1 small clove of garlic peeled and chopped
- Small pieces about 1 cm of fresh Ginger peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoons of cornstarch
1. Mix all ingredients of the glaze except the cornstarch in a saucepan.
2. Heat the saucepan over low heat until glaze begins to bubble.
3. Mix cornstarch with a little water. Add to the glaze in the saucepan and stir until it thickens. Then remove from heat and let glaze cool.
4. Marinate the salmon with half of the glaze about 2-4 hours, or overnight.
5. Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees.
6. Heat up nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a few drops of oil and sear the marinated salmon until nicely browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.
7. Brush the seared salmon with some of the remaining sauce and transfer it to the preheated oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through.
8. Remove from oven and drizzle remaining glaze over the salmon. Serve immediately.
The Dessert: Apple-Walnut Charoset
- 3 medium Gala or Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks*
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted and cooled*
- 1/2 cup sweet red wine (e.g. Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga) or grape juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1. Give walnuts a quick pulse in the food processor.
2. Add apples and remaining ingredients, and process till just blended and spreadable, but not too mushy.
3. Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve, or refrigerate.
*If not using a food processor, dice apples fine and nuts coarse.