Inspired by a recipe idea I saw in the Whole Foods holiday magazine for roasted salmon stuffed with fennel, olives, and oranges. The clever idea was to piece two salmon filets together and bind it with twine it to look like a whole fish. For our twist on it, we made one of our favorite fennel and apple bread stuffing and covered the salmon with lemon slices and dill. The same stuffing could be used for a chicken or turkey as well as the salmon which would be a great way to save time and link the dishes together for a holiday dinner.
To make this dish, select two skin-on salmon fillets (about a pound and a half each) that are matching in thickness and shape. You will also need one or two lemons sliced into rounds, one cup of apple cider, and 1/2 cup white wine for the roasting pan. Make stuffing (recipe below). Lay long piece of twine in roasting pan and place one salmon fillet skin down on top of the twine. Mound the stuffing on the fish up to about a half-inch from the edge all around.
Carefully place the remaining piece of salmon on top matching the shape. Press down gently. Wrap the twine around the fish several times knotting at the top as you would tie a roast. Tuck lemon slices and fennel fronds into the twine. (see picture above) . Pour wine and 1 cup of cider into the pan and place in a 375 degree oven. Cook until internal temperate reaches 165 degrees. Rest at least five minutes, cut and remove twine and slice.
1 large loaf crusty bread sliced and toasted
1 medium onion (sliced)
1 apple (peeled, cored, and sliced)
1/2 cup fennel bulb (thinly sliced, save the fronds for decoration)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 cups low salt vegetable broth
1 cup apple cider
1/2 tsp paprika
Heat a medium skillet and melt butter (or olive oil) and saute the onion and fennel and set aside. Crumble the bread into chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the apples, sautéed onions, fennel, broth, and cider. Beat the egg and mix in well. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper.
Passover is a time of stories and symbols. As the holiday draws to an end, I wanted to share one of the most fun things we served at our Seder this year. Last year my hubby, Mark, led us in the The Two Minute Haggadah for the second night of Passover. Everyone thought it was a riot and we joked that there should be a dish to match that contained the essence of the Seder in a few bites. A few days before Passover began, we remembered the conversation and tossed around various ideas of how to make a bite-size Seder. We hit on deviled eggs as the perfect medium for our holiday madness and Mark insisted that we call them “Wicked Son Eggs”. Off to the kitchen I went to figure out a recipe.
After a day of shopping and cooking, the lamb confit was ready and I assembled the rest of our Wicked Son Eggs as follows:
Peel and sliced 12 hard boiled eggs
Scoop yolks out and mix with mayonnaise, little shreds of lamb confit, fresh grated horseradish, and parsley
In another bowl mix finely diced apple with chopped walnuts and sweet wine
Stuff the eggs with yolk mixture
Top eggs with apples and walnuts
Serve on romaine lettuce leaves
While I enjoy the creativity of dishes that are updated, deconstructed, or chemically induced into fascinating forms, I sometimes crave more classic flavors. Dishes prepared as they have been for generations have a way of satisfying hunger of the belly and the heart.
For Passover, I made matzo balls prepared with shmaltz (chicken fat) and a simple chicken soup . The plump orbs bursting with rich chicken essence floating in golden liquid produced from simmering a local stewing hen and farm vegetables would have made any Jewish grandmother proud. I hope that next holiday time you will throw away that dusty box of soup mix and try the recipe below.
1 cup matzo meal
4 eggs (beaten)
4 tablespoons melted chicken fat (skimmed from chicken soup)*
5 tablespoons cold water
Dash of salt & white pepper
In a bowl, mix all ingredients, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water until simmering.
Wet hands with cold water and scoop the matzo mixture by small handfuls about 1″ around into the simmering water. Do not pack the mixture in tight balls.
Cover the pot and simmer gently for about 10 minutes and then turn the matzo balls, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Serve in hot chicken soup.
Makes about 18.
*Note: you can also use frozen chicken fat, butter (if you are not concerned with keeping the dish Kosher), or Parve margarine
Every year at Passover I made traditional favorites but I also try to create one or two new dishes for my family and friends. This year in addition to holding our usual big seder dinner, we are planning to have a Passover brunch toward the end of the holiday. I love popovers for brunch so I decided to try my hand at creating a tasty version with matzo cake flour. They came out delicious and I now have several dozen tucked into the freezer to heat and serve with homemade strawberry jam at our brunch. Also, on our menu will be omelettes, homemade gravlox, and cranberry matzo meal pancakes.
Below is the recipe for Sweet Passover Popovers which can be made in a standard muffin tin. They will not puff quite as much as traditional popovers but will be light, eggy, and delicious.
Sweet Passover Popovers
1 cup matzo cake flour (not matzo meal!)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of cinnamon
Heat the oven to 450 degrees
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl (preferably one with a pouring spout)
Mix together wet ingredients
Add the wet to the dry ingredients
Mix until just well combined (do not overmix)
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin
Pour batter evenly into 10 cups
Bake for 15 minutes
Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for about 10 minutes more
Poke each popover gently with a fork to allow steam to escape
Serve hot or room temp or cool and freeze