Don't Pass Over The Food At Your Seder06:28

This article is more than 9 years old.

Passover traditions vary widely. What's constant, however, is delicious food and great company.

With Passover just around the corner, three chefs join us to talk Passover food, stories and the new trend in seders — eating out.




Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse
by Tony Maws

Makes 8-10 servings

11 oz. Tazo Chocolate
9 egg yolks
½ c. sugar
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp brandy
9 egg whites
¼ c. sugar

Finely chop the chocolate, and then melt over simmering water in a double boiler.
While the chocolate is melting, whisk together the yolks and ½ cup sugar until the mixture is thick in texture and a pale, lemony yellow.

Gently fold the warm (not hot) chocolate into the yolks.

Stir in the brandy, olive oil and a pinch of salt.

In another bowl, whisk the whites until they are frothy and then whisk in the sugar. Keep whisking until they are at medium peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate, 1/2 at a time.
Pour into glasses and allow mousse to set for at least four hours before serving.

Quince Stew
Chorosht’e Be
By Reyna Simnagar

Makes 8-10 servings


My mother-in-law makes this stew almost every Shabbat because it is my sister-in-law’s favorite! Whenever I buy quinces, I have to hide them because my children love to eat them raw! This fruit is not really meant to be eaten raw…it is meant for jams and stews. I guess my kids must be “hard-core” Persians!

The quince tree originates from Iran and Caucasus. The Romans used its oil for perfume, while the Greeks enjoyed it cooked. Beh dune (seeds of the quince) are also used by Persians to treat colds and coughs. The seeds are removed from the fruit and set aside to air dry. Then, mix 1 tablespoon of seeds in 1 cup of hot water and steep for a few minutes until the water gets very thick, like jelly. The first time my mother-in-law gave me this concoction was my wedding day (what a day to have a cold) and it helped me tremendously.

Tricks of the trade
Make sure to remove the entire core of this fruit, since any remainder will cook along and harden like a rock in the inner layer of the fruit! Since quinces are often hard to find, the second I find some I buy many and freeze them already sliced in separate bags so I can use them as needed. Lamb or veal are also delicious in this recipe, or make it vegetarian-friendly by using seitan (wheat “meat”) instead.
By the way, most Persian stews freeze really well, but don’t freeze this one, because it has potatoes and potatoes don’t like the freezer!

1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed
¼ cup olive oil
2 pounds stew meat
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cups water
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 quinces, do not peel; just slice like an apple (make sure to remove the entire core)
¼ cup lime or lemon juice or the juice of 3 limes
¾ cup pitted prunes
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into medium dice

1. In a 6-quart saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic, in olive oil until the onion starts to become translucent (about 1 minute). Add the meat; cover and cook until meat no longer looks red, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper.
2. Add water, tomato paste, lime juice, quince, prunes, and potatoes. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Serve hot in a casserole dish.

Haleg (Persian charoset)
By Reyna Simnagar

1 (6 oz.) package ground walnuts (1 1/2 c.)
1 (6 oz.) package ground almonds (1 1/2 c.)
1/2 c. pistachio nut meats, ground
1 c. date paste (available in Middle Eastern stores or make your own by pureeing dates in food processor)
1/2 c. raisins, ground
1/2 c. grape juice
1 banana, peeled and ground
1 apple, peeled and ground
2 T. charoset spice (available online or mix equal parts ground cardamom, ginger and cinnamon)

Grind together all the ingredients that do not come already ground. Then combine all ingredients very well.

Maple-Mustard Glazed Smoked Sable with Beets and Horseradish Vinaigrette
By Michael Leviton


4 two ounce pieces of smoked sable (the more cube-like, the better)
2 ounces maple syrup
7 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon canola oil

4 small red beets – tops removed
4 tablespoons seasoned white wine vinegar (recipe follows)
4 tablespoons water

¼ cup seasoned white wine vinegar
¼ extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated (or prepared) horseradish
1 tablespoon minced chives

To season the vinegar:

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine all the vinegar, sugar and salt in a non-reactive pan and heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Use as directed.For the beets:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the beets and place on a 12 inch by 12 inch square of aluminum foil. Fold up the sides and pour in the water and vinegar. Seal the top by folding over the edges of the foil. Place the foil package in a sauté pan and bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the beets from the foil package and, when cool enough to handle, peel.

Coarsely chop the beets and puree in a food processor. The puree will not get very smooth. This is not a problem. Remove the puree from the processor and reserve.

For the Vinaigrette:

Combine the vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in a mixing bowl and whisk well. Add the horseradish to taste, Right before service, add the chives and mix well.

For the Smoked Sable:

Combine the maple syrup, mustard and sherry vinegar and whisk well. Place the smoked sable in the glaze and let marinate for about 10 minutes.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the canola oil and then the smoked sable portions (excess glaze removed). Cook for about one minute or until the glaze caramelizes. Flip the fish over and cook for another minute or so, until the sable is warmed through.

Meanwhile, heat the beet puree in a small sauté or sauce pan. Add the chives to the vinaigrette.

Place a spoonful of the puree in the center of each of four plates. Top with the sable and drizzle the vinaigrette around.

This segment aired on April 14, 2011.