I know that Passover has come and gone but do not click past this blog post too quickly…You will be surprised by how tasty this dinner party was and how I would actually eat the food year round (well not all of it…but at least some of the dishes!) For our last kosher for Passover Shabbos dinner, Adam and I invited over our good friends for a “tapas” party of sorts. One of our friends has never tried matzah, the unleavened bread-like product (and I use the term “bread-like” loosely!) eaten during the 8 day holiday. So I decided that a meal fit with traditional Passover foods, with a bit of a modern twist, was only fitting!
This is really the best part of Passover…a sweet apple salsa traditionally eaten on Matzah with some horseradish on top. Every year I wonder “why do we not eat this year round??” I made mine by combining chopped apples, walnuts, almonds, grape juice, cinnamon, white sugar, and honey. I am not one for the pureed form…I like my charoset nice and chunky.
The second best part of passover is Matzah pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza with a thin and crispy crust? With matzah as your base…instant success! Top to your heart’s content, although don’t be too liberal on your toppings or your matzah will go from crispy to soggy. Second tapas…a hit!
I have to give Adam all the credit here…he mixes up a mean matzah ball. We did use a mix, made primarily of matzah meal (just ground up matzah) and spices. But Adam added his unique touch and boiled these balls to the perfect fluffy texture. Being tapas party, these were cut in fours and served minus the usual chicken soup serving vessel. Now what’s a Passover meal without a traditional kugel?
Or kugel muffins I should say! Kugel is basically just a pudding or pie and can really be made with anything. This was another first for our guest and luckily, these vegetable filled muffin shaped kugels turned out much better than I thought (recipes can be found here). A change from the usual sweet apple kugel, I guess you could make these year round using other bread like products or whole grains as a substitute for the matzah farfel (just broken up pieces of matzah).
So all that was missing was the last and most popular traditional passover food…gefilte fish! A dish that strikes fear in many (including my husband)…a ball of ground up fish (generally a combo of white fish, pike, and carp) mixed with spices, an egg, and matzah meal and boiled until your house smells like an early morning fish market.
I for one, love the traditional variety. But out of fear for smelling up my apartment, I decided to look for an updated version of this classic dish. Let’s just say, even Adam, a known gefilte fish hater, liked my modern twist on the “fish-ball.”
Tilapia Cakes with Spiced Tomato Sauce (Adapted from Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners)
2 pounds of tilapia, chopped into fine pieces
1 egg white
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 lemon, zested
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
a couple dashes of hot sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste
Mix chopped fish with the remaining ingredients and form into small patties. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook fish cakes for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned.
For sauce, heat oil in a separate pot over medium heat and add onion, garlic, ginger, and hot sauce and cook until tender. Add cumin and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds. Then add tomatoes and break them up with a spoon and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add honey and season with salt and pepper.
Very different looking from the traditional gefitle fish, I would definitely eat this year round. There was also some un-pictured caramel and chocolate covered matzah…or as I like to call it, Matzah crack. Always eaten so fast, hence, no picture. A successful first time matzah experience and passover tapas night for my guests!