To spice up seder, mix old with new

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I serve a combination of family favorites and traditional Jewish standards during Passover, but I always try to mix in something new. This year, I’m looking to two Jewish food personalities for inspiration.

Lévana Kirschenbaum’s Moroccan Fish Soup combines many of my favorite flavors. Kirschenbaum, who ran a famed gourmet kosher restaurant for 30 years, is a food blogger and cooking teacher and has written four cookbooks, including the newly updated, self-published “The Whole Foods Kitchen: Glorious Meals Pure & Simple,” source of this recipe.

One optional ingredient is anisette or arak, both of which are considered unacceptable for Passover in Ashkenazi traditions. Omit if that is a concern. The recipe serves 12 as a first course, but I liked this as a main course and doubled the serving size.

Jeff Nathan, who owns several renowned kosher restaurants in New York, hosts a Jewish cooking television show and has authored two cookbooks. Poached Apricots with Lemon and Thyme is taken from Nathan’s “Family Suppers.” This aromatic compote is good on its own, over ice cream or atop Pesach sponge or nut cake.

The recipes are reprinted courtesy of the authors and have been adapted for style or space considerations.


Lévana Kirschenbaum’s Moroccan Fish Soup

Serves 12

1⁄3 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, quartered

2 large leeks, white part and most of the green part, sliced

4 ribs celery, peeled

6 cloves garlic

1 large bunch flat parsley

1 small bunch cilantro, stems cut off

2 red peppers, seeded and cut in chunks

head and tail of a large salmon, tilefish or any other big fish (quartered, loosely but securely wrapped in cheesecloth)

4 cups canned crushed tomatoes

8 cups water

2 large potatoes cut in small cubes

1 cup dry white wine

1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

1 good pinch ground cloves

3 bay leaves

1 Tbs. paprika

2 good pinches saffron

8 cups fish cubes, about

1-inch size: salmon, tilefish, snapper or other

2 Tbs. anisette or arak (optional)

Heat the oil in a heavy, wide-bottom pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onions, leeks, celery, garlic, parsley, cilantro and red peppers. Add to the oil and sauté until the mixture is translucent. Add the fish tied in cheesecloth, tomatoes, water, potatoes, wine, cayenne pepper, cloves, bay leaves, paprika and saffron. Cook 45 minutes. Remove and discard cheesecloth-wrapped fish. Add fish cubes and optional anisette and cook another few minutes, just until fish is cooked through. Serve hot.

Jeff Nathan’s Poached Apricots with Lemon and Thyme

Serves 6 to 8

1 lemon

2 cups water

1⁄2 cup fresh orange juice

1⁄2 cup honey

1⁄4 cup sugar

3-inch cinnamon stick

1 lb. dried apricots

1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme

a few gratings of fresh nutmeg

vanilla ice cream, for serving

lemon zest, cut into julienne, for garnish

Grate the zest from the lemon and then juice. In a medium saucepan, mix water, orange juice, honey, sugar, grated lemon zest and juice and cinnamon. Add the apricots and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Partially cover the saucepan with the lid and simmer until the apricots are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the thyme and nutmeg. Let cool until warm; or cool, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve spooned over ice cream and topped with long, thin strips of the additional lemon zest, if desired.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs at Contact her at [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].