Recipes for the Matzah-Weary

Joni Schockett

It’s usually after the second night of Passover, when the guests are gone and so are the leftovers, that I realize my love affair with matzah lasts exactly two days, and that the thought of eating the "bread of affliction" for another six days does not thrill me.

I have learned, however, that matzah does not have to be the main ingredient of Passover meals, and that the rest of the week’s diet can progress smoothly without too much of it. The following recipes are for the matzah-weary and should help make the remainder of the holiday as delicious as the first two nights.

Spring Vegetable Stew 
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
(Pareve) Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes

Bring a pot of water to boil and parboil the carrots for 5-7 minutes until tender. Remove them from the water and add the potatoes. Parboil them for 10-12 minutes until they are tender. Remove the potatoes and add the pearl onions for 4 minutes. Remove the onions and add the asparagus tips for two minutes. Set all the vegetables aside.

Fill a medium saucepan with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Add the lemon juice to a bowl of about 3 cups of cool water and set it near the stove. Working with one artichoke at a time, cut off the stem at the base. Remove all the leaves until you reach the pale green heart. Discard all the dark green leaves. Cut the artichoke in half and scoop out the choke. Cut the heart lengthwise in quarters and place in the lemon water. Continue until all the artichokes have been trimmed and cut. Drain off the lemon water and place in the boiling salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms. Saute for about 5 minutes and remove them with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add the garlic and parsley to the oil and stir for a minute or two. Add the onions and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables and add the mushrooms back to the pan. Add some of the broth to moisten and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with fresh basil or parsley.

Serve alone as a main dish or with roast chicken or Baked Salmon With Basil Oil for a dairy or pareve meal. Adapted from Cucina Ebraica, by Joyce Goldstein (Chronicle books, 1998).

Baked Salmon with Basil Oil
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
(Pareve) Baking Time: 15 minutes

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees (this calls for a very low heat). Rub a few drops of olive oil on the fillets and place them in an oiled baking dish.

Place the well-washed and thoroughly dried basil leaves and the olive oil in a blender or processor and process until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside in a small bowl.

Bake the salmon for 10 to15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes. If the skin peels easily and the fish flakes, it is done. If not, continue cooking until the desired degree of doneness is attained. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat the basil oil in the microwave for about 5 seconds. Place a fish fillet in a plate and drizzle the oil around and over the fish. Garnish with basil sprigs.

Adapted from The New York Times Passover Cookbook, edited by Linda Amster (William Morrow and Co. 1999).

Roast Chicken With Herbs and Vegetables
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
(Meat) Marinating Time: Overnight
Baking Time: About 1 to 1-1/2 hours

Mix the oil, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Place the chicken in a very large zipper plastic bag, add the marinade and zip closed. Shake gently to coat the chicken and place in a pan in the refrigerator. Marinate overnight turning a couple of times the next day. This can also be marinated in a non-reactive bowl (glass works best) that can be tightly covered.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Open the bag and pour the marinade into the bottom of a large, shallow roasting pan. Place the chicken in the center and place the vegetables around the chicken. Place in the oven. Roast for about an hour. Check after 30 minutes to make sure the chicken is not burning. If it is getting too dark, cover loosely with aluminum. Remove when a thermometer reads done for poultry, about 180 degrees. Let the chicken sit for about 10 minutes before carving. Great with a salad for a complete meal.

Flounder With Feta and Spinach 
PreparationTime: 10 minutes
(Dairy) Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil. When heated, add the onions and saute until they just begin to turn golden. Pour the onions into a 9x13 non-metal baking dish. Spread the onions evenly over the dish.

Wash, drain and thoroughly dry the spinach. Place it evenly over the onions. Place the fish over the spinach and press down, if needed. Crumble the feta cheese evenly over the fish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Uncover for the last few minutes.