Annabel’s entrees can turn your Passover meal from basic to beyond amazing.
By Annabel Cohen
SEPHARDIC SPINACH WITH CHICKPEAS STEW
This is my version of a family favorite. It is sort of a stew, perfect served over quinoa, rice (if you eat it) or potatoes. If you’d like to add interesting seasonings, add a couple of tablespoonfuls of minced fresh ginger, a bit of coconut milk and a tablespoonful of curry powder.
2 Tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 (15-ounce each) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 pound (16 ounces) or more fresh baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutesstirring often. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
TURKISH EGGPLANT SPREAD
Eggplant is always abundant in the Mediterranean, so it is not unusual to find eggplant on the Sephardic seder table.
1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onions
2 tsp. minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lemon juice to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°.
In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add eggplant, lemon juice and sugar. Simmer covered, 20 minutes. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes more. Serve with matzah on the side.
Makes 12 servings as an appetizer.
SWEET AND SOUR FISH
For variety, I like to serve this honey sweetened fish in place of gefilte fish at Passover seder. I’ve updated this recipe for a Sephardic dish by using balsamic vinegar and a bit of brown sugar.
8 ¾-ounce portions (about 2 pounds) firm fish fillets, such as snapper, cod, sea bass, tilapia (skin and bones removed)
Kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Dusting of granulated garlic (or 2 tsp. minced garlic)
Dusting of cayenne pepper to taste
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
1/3 cup olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. honey
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place fish portions in a glass or ceramic baking dish with sides. Season the fish lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Combine the parsley, oil, vinegar, brown sugar and garlic in a small bowl and whisk well. Pour this mixture over the fish. Drizzle the fillets with the honey.
Cover the pan with foil and bake 15 minutes. Uncover and bake about 5 minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature with the remaining juices drizzled over. Makes 8 servings.
SALMON GEFILTE FISH
1 ½ cups finely chopped onions
1 carrot, peeled and grated or minced
2 pounds salmon fillets, cut into large chunks
2 large eggs
½ cup matzah meal or cake meal
¼ cup fresh dill, somewhat chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar (or more to taste)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt or to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. prepared white horseradish (red horseradish will make the sauce pink!)
½ cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (grained or smooth)
Bring a pot of water with 1 Tbsp. salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and carrots and saute over medium heat until softened.
Place the vegetables and salmon in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the eggs, matzah meal, dill, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper and process until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
Form the fish mixture into ovals using two tablespoons dipped in cold water or with your hands (form large egg-sized to as big as you like them; I usually use ½ cup measure). Drop the balls gently with spoon into the simmering broth and cook for 30-40 minutes. (If you are making appetizer sized, cook for 10-15 minutes).
Make sauce by stirring together all the sauce ingredients. Serve the fish with the sauce on the side.
Make sauce by stirring together all the sauce ingredients. Serve the fish warm or cold