In my cover story this week, I write about infusing Passover with the flavors of spring. Here are those flavors:
Gefilte Lettuce (Ceviche-Stuffed Butter Lettuce)
Let’s face it. If you grow up with jarred gefilte fish, you may eventually develop a taste for it. After all, there are a few Swedes who genuinely like lutefisk. But the idea here is to replace canned gefilte fish with something that actually doesn’t make small children and non-Jews run away, and that reflects California’s local bounty.
3 pounds sustainable firm white fish (halibut, cod, red snapper, sea bass)
2 medium jalapenos, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup or more fresh squeezed lime juice (7 to 15 limes)
½ cup lemon juice
1 avocado, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 head butter lettuce, rinsed and dried, the leaves separated
3 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
Remove any skin, bones and dark spots from fish. Cut fish into ½ inch cubes.
In a glass or plastic bowl, mix fish with jalapenos, cilantro, and lemon and lime juice to cover.
Refrigerate, covered, for two hours, stirring mixture every 15-20 minutes. After 2 hours, check to see fish is opaque and tastes “cooked.” If so, drain. If not, let sit for a bit longer, then drain.
Lay out large lettuce leaves on counter. Spoon 2 tablespoons or more into each leaf, roll as in stuffed cabbage. To serve, place individual rolls on plate, sprinkle with tomato, salt , pepper and olive oil.
Crudo with Beet Confetti and Horseradish Cream
This is an even easier alternative to gefilte fish which has the added advantage of tasting better. You need to use great quality fish. I use California local-caught yellowtail. Make sure you slice it thin against the grain. Don’t cheap out on the olive oil, either.
1 pound top quality sustainable salt water fish (halibut, sea bass, yellowtail)
½ cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
3 beets, yellow, red and orange
5 inches horseradish root r 2 T. prepared horseradish
2 T. mayonaisse
1 bag microgreens or arugula
2 blood oranges
good quality sea salt
Wrap beets in foil and roast in 450 degree oven until very tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool, unwrap, slip off skins and wipe clean. Dice in 1/8 inch dice.
Chop horseradish and blend in blender with mayo, or use prepared horseradish and mayo.
Using Refrigerate fish. Using a sharp knife, cut across the grain in very thin slices, about 1/8 inch. Place slices in glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl and coat with 1/4 cup olive oil . Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes. Remove from fridge, place individual slices on each plate. Use ¼ cup fresh live oil (not marinade) to drizzle over fish.
Sprinkle each piece with beets and drizzle with horseradish sauce. Place a pile of microgreens or arugula alongside. Blend orange juice and remaining olive oil and drizzle over greens.
Sprinkle sea salt over fish and salad and serve.
Chicken with Green Garlic, Baby Artichokes and Morel Mushrooms
Fresh morels aren’t cheap but they are a spring treat. You can find less expensive dried ones online or at Surfas in Culver City. Green garlic is in most farmers markets now. This recipe will work using 15 whole fresh garlic cloves, which you peel and leave whole.
16 pieces chicken
½ cup olive oil
½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
1 pound green garlic
14 baby artichokes (2-to 3 pounds), clean, trim base and cut in quarters
salt and pepper
1 pound fresh or 4 ounces dried morel mushrooms
1 T. fresh thyme
3 fresh bay leaves
1/c cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using dried morels, soak in ½ cup hot water while sautéing chicken. Clean garlic well, slice off brown or dry parts, and slice into thin ¼ inch rounds.
In a large skillet, sauté garlic in some olive oil until garlic begins to soften, about 5 minutes, add artichokes, some salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, another 5 minutes.
In a large oven proof skillet, heat olive oil. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add to pan, not crowding, and brown on each side, about 3 to 5 minutes each. Remove from pan.
Deglaze pan with wine or vermouth, add sautéed garlic and artichokes, the mushrooms, thyme and bay and the chicken. Cover and let cook over medium low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. You can also place in the warm oven and let cook 45 minutes.
Remove from heat and test for doneness. No one likes chicken sushi. Serve with the Vegetable Tian. And matzo.
Roasted Asparagus with Vincotto
Doesn’t get easier than this. Choose excellent quality asparagus. You can steam or roast them. Either way, don’t overcook, or undercook. Vicoto is sweet cooked grape must from Italy.
3 pounds asparagus, cleaned
½ c. vincotto
salt and pepper
Steam asparagus until tender but not soft, or rost in a 450 oven until bright gren and tender. Let cool a bit, then toss with vincott and season with salt and pepper.
Click here for: the ultimate Passover dessert.