Mashed Potato Kugel with Eggplant and Mushrooms. (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Mashed Potato Kugel with Eggplant and Mushrooms. (Photo/Faith Kramer)

A Passover menu with Turkish Jewish influences

For Passover seders this year, I’m taking inspiration from Turkish Jewish flavors.

This recipe for salmon with rhubarb evolved from a Turkish Pesach fish dish made with tomatoes and rhubarb. This succulent version is oven-steamed in aluminum foil for easy clean up. The rhubarb is a slightly sour counterpoint to the salmon, and the chopped tomato garnish adds texture and color. It is a tasty main course or an appetizer (in half-size portions).

Potato kugels are a traditional Ashkenazi Passover food. For this recipe, I add mushrooms and eggplant and use Turkish flavors. You can use it as a substantial, parve side dish or as a vegetarian main course.

Salmon with Rhubarb

Serves 4 to 6

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tsp. lemon juice, divided
  • 1½ tsp. ground dried ginger
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds salmon fillet
  • 1½ cups thinly sliced green onion
  • 2 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cups finely diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs. grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill or parsley

In a large rimmed dish, stir together oil, ¼ cup lemon juice, dried ginger, salt and pepper. Slice salmon into serving pieces. Marinate skin side up for 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Stack two 18-by-24-inch pieces of aluminum foil. (If wide foil is not available, make two packets and divide ingredients.) With shorter edge of foil toward you, place fish skin side down in center of bottom half. Drizzle with marinade. Evenly scatter green onions, ginger, and rhubarb on top. Fold other half of the foil over fish, then firmly fold edges twice over to securely seal the packet. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. For fillets that are about 1-inch thick, bake 20 minutes. Open packet and cut into one of the fish pieces. Salmon should be moist, opaque and flaky. (Reseal and return to oven if underdone.)

Remove from foil. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Drizzle with 2 Tbs. juice. Top with tomatoes, zest and dill.

Mashed Potato Kugel with Eggplant and Mushrooms

Serves 6 to 8

  • Eggplant and mushroom filling (see below)
  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided, plus extra for casserole
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • ⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbs. matzah meal
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley

Have filling ready (see below). Quarter potatoes. Place in pot. Cover with water . Add ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to simmer. Cover, adjust heat and simmer until soft. Drain, reserving liquid. Remove peels if desired.

Heat 2 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions. Sauté until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in ¼ tsp. salt, black pepper and cayenne. Add garlic. Sauté 1-2 minutes until golden. Stir into potatoes with ¼ cup reserved liquid. Mash, adding liquid if needed. Adjust salt. Stir in eggs. Mix in matzah meal.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2-quart casserole. Press half of the potatoes in bottom. Cover with vegetable filling. Top with potatoes. Brush top with 1 Tbs. oil. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until crusty and golden. Let stand 20 minutes. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Eggplant and mushroom filling: Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1½ cups chopped onion. Sauté 5 minutes. Add ¼ tsp. salt, 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. dried oregano, ½ tsp. dried mint, ¼ tsp. ground black pepper  and  ¼ tsp. cayenne. Add 3 cups chopped eggplant, and oil if needed. Sauté 5 minutes. Add 3 cups chopped brown mushrooms. Sauté 5 minutes. Add 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid. Sauté until liquid evaporates. Stir in 2 Tbs. lemon juice and ¼ cup chopped fresh mint. Adjust salt. Refrigerate if made in advance. Return to room temperature before using.

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].