September 23, 2019

Feasting after fasting: Recipes for breaking the fast after Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the fast.          

When I spoke with several friends about Yom Kippur foods they remember from growing up, many said their favorite break-the-fast meal was a variety of spicy, ready-to-eat deli foods. Some dishes were homemade and could be prepared several days in advance, while others were picked up at the local deli.

A deli buffet enables you to serve a combination of deli specialties to satisfy everyone. But you don’t have to buy deli food — the recipes that I am suggesting are easy to prepare. My menu is based on our family favorites that are prepared in advance. 

Early in the morning, a buffet table is made ready with plates, cutlery and an assortment of bowls and platters. 

When the hungry guests arrive, they are met with welcoming cups of Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup. The soup is accompanied by slices of raisin-filled challah

Several homemade salads, including a Scandinavian Herring Potato Salad and a Cauliflower Anchovy Salad, a cheese platter, pickles, olives and more of your deli selections will reward the dedicated fasters.  

Instead of the smoked fish that is usually served for the-break-the-fast meal, I have included a recipe for a Pickled Salmon. The fish is poached with pickling spices and served with homemade fresh Tartar Sauce or Tuna Sauce. What I find particularly appealing about this dish is that it can be prepared the day before and served chilled.

Desserts are my specialty, and I plan to do my own baking. Serve Rugelach and a delicious high-rise Coffee and Spice Honey Cake. 

Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup

Sautéing all the ingredients before adding the stock brings out the intense mushroom flavor of this robust soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable or pareve chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons pearl barley

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon dry sherry

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms (other fresh mushrooms may be substituted) and garlic; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, barley, thyme and sherry. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle into heated soup bowls.  

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 

Cauliflower Anchovy Salad

Cauliflower’s taste and color are subdued, so the zippy flavor of this salad’s anchovy dressing gives the understated vegetable a dynamic flavor boost.

1 cup Parsley-Anchovy Dressing
(recipe follows)

1 head cauliflower, rinsed
and separated into florets

Prepare Parsley-Anchovy Dressing, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.

In a large saucepan, using a vegetable rack, steam cauliflower until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Spoon just enough dressing over cauliflower to moisten and toss. Serve immediately.  

Makes 4 servings.

Parsley-Anchovy Dressing

1/4 small onion, diced

1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups tightly packed parsley sprigs, stems removed (about 1 bunch)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Blend onion, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add parsley, a little at a time, and puree until the dressing is a bright green color. Season with pepper to taste.  

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.  If dressing thickens after chilling, add additional olive oil and mix well.  This will keep for several days in the refrigerator.  

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Pickled Salmon With Two Sauces

3 pounds salmon fillets

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

3 tablespoons pickling spices

6 cups cold water

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 large carrots thinly sliced 

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Tuna Sauce (recipe follows)

Tarter Sauce (recipe follows)

1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish


Wrap salmon fillets in cheesecloth and tie ends of cloth with string. 

Place bay leaves, peppercorns and pickling spices in a separate square of cheesecloth, tying ends with string to form a pouch.

Add water, onion, carrots, celery, vinegar, salt, sugar and bay leaf mixture in pouch to a heavy pot; bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes; remove pouch from broth. 

Gently lower the cheesecloth-wrapped salmon into the simmering broth and cook 3 minutes. Cool fish in broth. When cool, remove fish from broth, unwrap, and transfer to serving plate with large spatula. Serve with Tuna Sauce and/or Tartar Sauce, garnished with lemon slices. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Tuna Sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil,       drained

5 flat anchovy fillets

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed

3/4 cup olive oil


Blend the tuna, anchovies, lemon juice and capers in a food processor or blender, with the metal blade in place, until smooth. Continue processing and pour the olive oil in a steady, thin stream through the feeder tube until it’s the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. 

Makes about 1 cup.