Need a last-minute recipe idea? Try one of these inventive Rosh Hashanah recipes by Israel’s top chefs.
By Jessica Halfin
Rosh Hashanah menus, while traditional and delicious, can also get a little stale year after year. With Israeli food trending across the globe, now is a perfect time to add some authentic Israeli flavors to your holiday.
We have gathered exclusive recipes from some of Israel’s top chefs that are sure to start your year off on a sweet and beautiful note.
Sea Bass With Roasted Peppers and Herb Cream Filling
Chef Mor Cohen, Herbert Samuel Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Herzliya
Cohen is a respected chef known for his haute kosher cuisine at the Ritz Carlton. While a fish head on the table might be off-putting, it is a traditional symbol of the Jewish New Year, so this recipe serves double duty as delicious and symbolic.
For the fish:
4 whole sea bass, deboned and
descaled (each fish should weigh
about 1 pound)
Salt and pepper to flavor
For the herb cream:
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups of freshly picked herb leaves
(oregano, parsley, basil, celery)
1 baguette (just use the inside and
not the crust)
5 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste
For the roasted peppers:
4 medium-sized onions (cut in half
8 garlic cloves diced
1 hot green pepper, cut in rings
8 fresh peppers that have been grilled
and singed. The peppers should be
sliced in wide strips.
6 tomatoes similarly roasted and
singed and sliced in strips
3 Tbsp.ns olive oil
½ cup of arak, ouzo or other
1 tsp. freshly ground oregano
Salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Process the herbs in a food processor with the garlic and baguette. The mixture should be lightly sprinkled with olive oil until a consistent yet creamy texture. Transfer to a piping bag and refrigerate.
3. To prepare the peppers: Heat a large saucepan with olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and hot peppers (if desired) until the aromas start rising from the pan. Add the diced onions and cook until they become translucent and tender.
4. Add the peppers and tomatoes and stir generously. Add in the arak, bring to a boil and reduce the liquid to about half.
5. Add the oregano, reduce to a low heat and cover. Keep cooking for about 20 minutes, regularly checking and adjusting the taste with salt. Remove from heat and set aside.
6. Using a sharp knife, pierce the sides of the fish ensuring the cut reaches the middle. Cuts should be along the sides and along the fish’s spine. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and set the fish standing (as if swimming) on a baking dish. Insert a half a lemon in the fish’s cavity and fill the incisions with the herb-crème.
7. Bake the fish for about 18 minutes, until completely cooked and you see the cream begin to take on a darker golden color.
8. Remove and serve the fish over a generous bed of the peppers. Garnish with parsley.
Stuffed Chard Leaves with Pomegranate Molasses
Chef Merav Barzilay, Meshek Barzilay
The Neve Tzedek neighborhood in Tel Aviv boasts an unmistakable relaxed bohemian chic vibe, which, of course, extends to its restaurants and cafes. Right at the heart of the newly declared “vegan capital of the world” sits Meshek Barzilay, the city’s pioneering vegan restaurant, 17 years young, and its newer delicatessen that serves ready-made organic and vegan dishes in high demand.
For Rosh Hashanah, one of the restaurant’s specialties is cooked chard leaves stuffed with grains, dried fruits, nuts and tart pomegranate molasses. It is a nod to the pomegranate, a major sign of the holiday.
For the stuffed chard leaves:
Large bunch chard leaves (best if you can get it with large uniform leaves)
2 cups cooked freekeh or quinoa
Purple onion, cut into small cubes and caramelized
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped fresh mint
½ cup mixed dried fruits, such as dried cranberries, dried figs and dried apples
2 Tbsp. chopped almonds
3 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp. salt
Pinch white pepper
For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Half a white onion, sliced
8 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp. pomegranate molasses
Pinch Baharat spice
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Blanch whole chard leaves in boiling water for 20-30 seconds to soften, carefully open up each leaf and set down single file on a smooth surface.
3. Remove the stem from each chard leaf with a paring knife.
4. Prepare the filling: Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.
5. Fill the center of each leaf with a filling (about 1.5 Tbsp., but it will vary according to your leaf size).
6. Fold the sides of the leaf inwards toward the center and roll from the cut portion inward. Tightly pack the stuffed chard leaves into a baking dish and set aside.
7. Prepare the sauce: Saute the onion and olive oil until golden. Add the garlic and tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes start to fall apart, but not so much that they start to lose their color.
8. Add the spices and a bit of water if needed to get a thin sauce.
9. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste, then pour over the stuffed chard.
10. Cover the baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and the chard leaves are cooked through.
11. Serve with a garnish of chopped mint leaves and a light drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
Apple Streusel Honey Cake
Chefs Rossella Jona and Amir Porat, Biscotti Bakery
What started out as a very small Tel Aviv business 15 years ago is now a booming catering business with a staff of 200 workers and future plans to become an Israeli café chain. Now located in Bnei Brak, just east of the big city, they are committed to using high-quality ingredients to make their mark on the Israeli pastry shop scene.
To replicate their famous apple streusel-topped honey cake at home this holiday, just follow this recipe, which we took straight from the head chefs.
For the cake:
4 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ cup plus 1½ tablespoons honey
¾ cup sugar
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup strong fruit tea, brewed and cooled
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
1 green apple, peeled and sliced for garnishing the unbaked cake
For the streusel topping:
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1. To make the topping: In a food processor, blend all the ingredients in short pulses until you get a coarse crumb.
2. Transfer the crumbs to a sealed container and chill until use.
3. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F.
4. Whip eggs with the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and triples in size.
5. Add the oil and mix to combine, then add the honey and do the same.
6. In a medium bowl, combine the spices flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the eggs mixture and add the cooled tea. You can also add fresh peeled and chopped apples or pears or cherries to the batter at this stage if you wish.
7. Pour into 2 loaf pans and top with a light layer of streusel and 12-13 apple slices in vertical line down the center. Bake for about 40 minutes.
8. Cake is done when a toothpick comes out dry with a few moist crumbs attached.
Jessica Halfin is an American-Israeli baker, gourmet cook, food and culture writer and all-around foodie in Haifa, Israel, where she lives with her husband and three sons.