Breaking the fast Mediterranean-style

Coming back from Yom Kippur services, you need a meal that is substantial enough to satisfy hunger without making you feel overstuffed. The food needs to be completely prepared. All that should be required is a simple reheat, or bringing a dish to room temperature for serving. One should not offer too many courses. Simplicity and satisfaction should be the culinary theme.

Although most Ashkenazi Jews would have a dairy meal, the Moroccan Jews break their fast with a filling, restorative soup — a meal in a bowl. Soup needs a simple reheat and can be prepared days ahead of time.

We start our supper with a roasted eggplant salad. It can be made up to two days ahead and brought to room temperature before serving. The accompanying pita bread is best warmed in the microwave oven for a minute, or wrapped in foil and steamed in a double boiler.

Fresh fruit such as sliced oranges sprinkled with cinnamon, accompanied by a cookie or small piece of cake will establish the sweet New Year.

You may already recognize Salata de Berenjena Asada, a Mediterranean classic, as “eggplant caviar.” Some recipes combine the eggplant purée with tahini, but this version is the simplest and most widely served Sephardic eggplant salad. After roasting the eggplant, although it will reduce your yield, discard any large seed pockets. They are bitter and add an unpleasant texture to the creamy eggplant purée. To keep the eggplant white, a point of pride in Turkey, squeeze lemon juice over it after peeling it. n

Joyce Goldstein, founder of Square One restaurant in San Francisco, is author of a number of Jewish cookbooks. Her latest cookbook is “Solo Suppers: Simple, Delicious Meals to Cook for Yourself.”

Salata de Berenjena Asada

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Serves 8

3 or 4 large globe eggplants, about 3 pounds

6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

juice of 2 or 3 lemons or more to taste


freshly ground black pepper

4 Tbs. finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 Tbs. ground toasted cumin seeds

4 cloves garlic, minced

For a smoky taste, grill eggplants under the broiler, turning often, or cook them slowly on a stovetop cast-iron griddle. You also may bake them in a 400-degree oven, until eggplants are soft throughout. Drain in a colander.

When the eggplants are cool enough to handle, strip away the skin and discard large seed pockets. Drain the pulp in a colander to rid it of bitter juices. Squeeze some lemon juice over the eggplant so it doesn’t darken. Mash the eggplant in bowl and season it with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, adding cumin and garlic to taste. Chill well and garnish with chopped parsley.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve with warm pita bread and strips of cucumber.

H’rira is the classic Moroccan soup served by Muslims and Jews alike to break a fast, be it Ramadan or Yom Kippur. It is nourishing and quite filling. The variables are the amount of lentils, chickpeas, rice or pasta and the choice of meat: beef, lamb or chicken.

H’rira (Harira) de Kippour

Lemony Bean and Rice Soup for Yom Kippur

Serves 8

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, or 11/2 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed well

1 bay leaf


4 Tbs. olive oil

3/4 pound beef shank meat cut cut in 1/2-inch pieces

into 1/2-inch pieces or 3/4 lb. lamb shoulder, well trimmed of fat

2 onions, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. saffron dissolved in

2 Tbs. hot water

11/2 cups lentils

1/2 cup rice

2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (canned or fresh)

1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro

1/2 cup chopped flat leaf leafed parsley

1 to 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. flour dissolved in

1/4 cup water, optional

juice of 1 or 2 lemons

This almond cake, Bocca di Dama, which translates as “mouth of a woman,” is served by Italian Jews to break the fast at Yom Kippur.

Bocca di Dama

Yom Kippur Almond Sponge Cake

Serves 8 to 10

12/3 cup finely chopped, blanched almonds

11/3 cups sugar

8 whole eggs plus

3 additional egg yolks

11/3 cups all-purpose flour

grated zest of 2 lemons

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 10-inch springform pan.

In a food processor, combine the almonds and 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar; process until ground. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat together the eggs and the extra yolks with the remaining sugar until very thick and pale. Gradually add the flour, ground almond-sugar mixture and lemon zest. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake emerges clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack.

Release the pan sides and slide the cake onto a serving platter. If you like, sift a dusting of powdered sugar over the top.

You may also separate the eggs, beat the yolks with sugar, add almonds and flour and zest and then beat whites until stiff and fold into the batter.

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Makes 4 dozen

5 egg whites at room


1 1/3 cups sugar

4 cups toasted long-shred unsweetened coconut

3/4 cup ground toasted almonds

1/2 Tbs. vanilla

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted over hot water

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with baker’s parchment.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar. When stiff peaks form, fold in the coconut, almonds and vanilla.

Drop spoonfuls of the batter about 2 inches apart on the lined sheet pans. (You can use a small ice cream scoop, or a tablespoon and your finger.) The cookies should be about 1 inch in diameter.

Bake for about 20 minutes. The macaroons should still be moist inside and white outside. Cool. Dip the bottom of each cookie in melted chocolate.