I have about four Google Hangout and Zoom meetings a day with various teams, not to mention the cool livecast with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks from his study in Golders Green, London, today.
And do you know what has been mentioned at so many of them?
So, I thought, what does Alison Roman have for us for Passover?
Here are some recipes.
Matzo Brei, using her father’s recipe. Heck, she just tweeted about it on Sunday.
Reprinted from Alison Roman’s DINING IN cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Alison Roman. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 salted matzo boards (unsalted will work, too, just be sure to compensate by adding salt when making it)
6 large eggs
Sour cream and applesauce, for serving
1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have caramelized and softened completely, about 15 minutes; don’t rush this part! Low-and-slow caramelized onions are key to its deliciousness. Remove from the heat and set aside while you deal with the matzo.
2. Soak the matzo in a large bowl of warm water for a few seconds to soften and just soak through (leave them in there too long and they’ll fall apart). You’ll know they’re properly soaked when they are soft and no longer snap like a cracker. Drain the matzo in a colander.
3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the soaked matzo and, using your hands or a spatula, stir to coat so that all the matzo is evenly coated with the egg mixture. Let this sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and add the matzo mixture to the caramelized onions; season again with salt and pepper. Cook, scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally, almost like you’re making a soft scramble. Cook until the eggs are just set, then remove the skillet from the heat (they will continue to cook off the heat).
5. Transfer the matzo brei to a large bowl (or serve straight from the skillet) and serve with plenty of sour cream and applesauce.
Chef’s note: The key to good matzo brei lies in two things: very seasoned, very caramelized onions; and properly soaked matzo boards. Not enough soaking and it’ll be dry; too much, and it’ll feel bland and waterlogged. It may take you a few tries to see what I mean. It is, after all, an art.
Dan Roman’s Scotch Gravlax
? cup kosher salt
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit or lemon zest
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skin-on salmon fillet
1 tablespoon extremely smoky Scotch whiskey, such as Laphroaig (skip if not kosher for passover)
1. Combine the salt, dill, brown sugar, grapefruit zest, and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl, rubbing with your hands to blend everything really well. The mixture should feel almost like wet sand.
2. Place the salmon on a cutting board and pour the Scotch on top, rubbing it all over; discard any that runs off. (Lots of rubbing in this recipe—get ready.) Rub the salt mixture over the salmon, packing it on pretty well, like you’re building a sand castle. Wrap the whole piece of salmon in plastic wrap a few times so it’s well sealed.
3. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the skin side of the salmon, just to pierce the plastic, not necessarily the salmon. Place the salmon, skin-side down, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Place a large plate or another baking sheet on top of the salmon, and then put a few heavy cans or a large cast-iron skillet on top. The idea here is that you are pressing the cure into the salmon, and as that happens, some water will leach out (the holes you poked let out any excess moisture).
4. Place this in the refrigerator and let it sit for 3 to 5 days. Dad likes his a little more cured; I like mine a little fresher. Check it at 3 days and give it a taste; feel free to keep curing.
5. You can rub the cure off before slicing and serving, but I like to leave it on, because I’m into all that additional herby saltiness.
6. Whatever you’re serving it with (or on), slice your gravlax as thinly as possible. To do this, use a very sharp knife (preferably a slicing knife, but if you don’t own one, reach for the thinnest blade you have). Cut on a strong bias to create wider, thin sheets of salmon.
Chef’s note: I’ve made a few tweaks to Dan’s original recipe, using Aleppo pepper for even more smokiness and grapefruit instead of lemon, because I love the floral notes and slightly adult bitterness it brings; and because I like things to taste more salty than sweet, I cut back on some of the brown sugar. How you serve this will ultimately come down to personal preference.
DO AHEAD: Gravlax can be kept for up to 1 week, refrigerated. Just make sure you wrap it super tightly before storing, changing out the plastic wrap between uses to keep moisture out.
Alison Roman (Right) and Melissa Clark chat about food and cookbooks and careers at a recent luncheon we attended.
Recipe: Slow-Roasted Oregano Chicken with Buttered Tomatoes
Alison Roman’s NOTHING FANCY
Jewlicious Note: You can substitute the anchovies and butter
There are about a million ways to roast a chicken, and someone will always tell you that theirs is the best way. Here is my truth: If you smear a good, high-quality chicken with enough fat, season it with plenty of salt, roast it until it is cooked through and the skin is brown, it will always be excellent. But if you ask me (and you’ve got the time), it’s the slow roast that gives you everything you want: perfectly golden skin, extremely tender meat, and plenty of salty, savory chicken juices to serve as a sauce. Above all other dishes in this book, this chicken truly embodies the “nothing fancy” mood. From the extremely simple assemblage of ingredients to the ridiculously handsoff preparation, it’s casual in a way that feels almost lazy (but isn’t), with “make sounds after you take a bite” levels of delicious. You could truly put things over the edge and add a few anchovies to the tomatoes. (Mandatory anchovies might make me seem like a one-trick-pony, but let’s pretend I’m not!)
Serves 4 to 6
3½- to 4-pound chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
1½ tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice mill, or chopped with a knife
1 bunch fresh oregano
1½ pounds small-ish vine-ripened tomatoes (about 6), halved lengthwise
2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise (don’t worry about leaving the skin on; it’s fine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
NOTE: Get ready for an unpopular opinion. Crispy-skinned chicken is a myth and a lie. Even when remotely crispy out of the oven, it will soften and deflate the second you slice into it. At best, there may be crispy bits, but to think you can somehow get the skin of an entire chicken shatteringly crispy will only lead you to frustration and disappointment.
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper (if you can do this in advance, please do; think of it as a casual brine). Drizzle it with the olive oil and sprinkle with the fennel seeds.
Stuff the cavity with half the oregano and place in a large baking dish. Scatter the tomatoes, garlic, butter, and remaining oregano around the chicken. Roast until the chicken is golden brown and completely cooked through, and the tomatoes are nice and jammy, 2½ to 3 hours. Add the vinegar to the tomatoes and let the chicken rest in the baking dish for 10 minutes.
Place toast on serving platter and spoon the jammy tomatoes over or around the toast. Carve the chicken and place on top of the toast to catch the juices.
DO AHEAD: The chicken can be roasted a few hours ahead; it’s very good at room temperature.
AFTER POSTING THIS, I FOUND OUT THAT on WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1, THE NEW YORK TIMES will publish a whole SEDER WITH ALISON ROMAN! SORRY ABOUT THAT!!!
But here is a recipe from that story:
Matzo Ball Soup With Celery and Dill
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Greater than the sum of its parts, matzo ball soup is a wonderful combination of three very simple things: chicken broth (golden brown, deeply savory, lightly seasoned), matzo balls (tender, eggy, schmaltzy dumplings made with ground matzo) and garnish (celery and fresh dill, lots of it). The key to keeping the chicken juicy, tender and something you’re excited to eat is by gently simmering the stock (which will also keep the broth crystal clear rather than muddied). You can pick the meat from the chicken and add it back to the soup if you like, or save for next-day chicken salad. For the matzo balls, matzo meal is preferred for it’s fine texture, but know that you can also grind your own from matzo boards in a food processor.
FOR THE BROTH:
1 (4- to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or 4 to 4 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
2 large yellow onions, unpeeled, quartered
2 garlic heads, unpeeled, halved crosswise
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
FOR THE MATZO BALLS AND ASSEMBLY:
1 cup matzo meal (not matzo ball mix), or 1 cup finely ground matzo boards
¼ cup finely chopped chives
1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
5 large eggs
? cup chicken fat, grapeseed oil or unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup club soda or seltzer
3 to 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced on a bias, plus any leaves
½ cup chopped dill leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the broth: Combine chicken, onions, garlic, celery and carrots in a large pot. Cover with 12 cups water and season with salt. (If your pot can’t handle all that water, fill the pot with as much as you can, and add remaining water as it reduces.)
Bring to a strong simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low so that the broth is gently simmering.
Continue to gently simmer, uncovered, until the broth is extremely flavorful and well seasoned, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Using tongs, remove breasts, thighs and legs from the pot (let any skin and bones fall into the pot), leaving everything else behind.
Pick the meat from the chicken, discarding any fat, skin, bones, cartilage or any drier pieces of meat that you wouldn’t find delicious to eat. Set meat aside to either put back into your soup, or to use in another dish (chicken salad, etc).
Strain broth (you should have about 10 cups) and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper (it should be as seasoned and delicious as you’d want it to be when serving). Keep warm, if using same day, or let cool and refrigerate overnight.
As broth sits, prepare the matzo balls: Combine matzo meal, chives and 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt in a medium bowl. Using a fork, incorporate eggs until well blended. Add chicken fat, followed by club soda, mixing until no lumps remain. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until mixture is firm and fully hydrated, at least 2 hours (and up to 24 hours).
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Using your hands, roll matzo ball mixture into balls slightly smaller than the size of a ping pong ball (about 1 1/4-inch in diameter), placing them on a plate or parchment lined baking sheet until all the mixture is rolled (you should have about 24 matzo balls).
Add matzo balls to the boiling water and cook until floating, puffed and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. (You can always sacrifice one, plucking it from the broth and cutting it in half to check that it’s cooked through. The texture should be uniform in color and texture, and the balls shouldn’t be dense or undercooked in the center.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to the chicken broth.
Add celery (and some of the picked chicken meat, if you desire) and season again with salt before ladling into bowls, topping with dill, celery leaves and a crack of freshly ground pepper.
If you have the luxury of time, it’s nice to make this over two days, absentmindedly simmering the stock on
Day 1, preparing the matzo balls on Day 2 — be sure to leave time for their two-hour rest — but it can also be done in one day with no problem.
You can use a whole chicken an equal measure of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts. If you have the option, go for the fattier cuts with dark meat like legs and thighs.
You can also use store-bought chicken broth here, but I recommend simmering it with the broth aromatics listed (onion, garlic, celery and carrot), if you’re able.
Chicken fat will most likely be the trickiest thing to find. I know it’s certainly not kosher, but melted butter is a ridiculously good substitute. You can also use a neutral oil, like grapeseed or canola.
The seltzer water is almost superstitious, but I believe it contributes to their fluffiness, but I’ve also made matzo balls with regular water and yes, they still turn out.
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