I was reading my complimentary issue of Mix (Portland’s Magazine of Food & Drink) and I came across an article, Passover dinner gets a Mediterranean makeover, by Deena Prichep in the April ’11 edition.
The article starts: “With all due respect to fellow members of the tribe, I think most Jews get the Passover dinner all wrong. It’s an uplifting holiday . . . But the meal? Gefilte fish and brisket?
I’m always looking for something new for the holidays — new recipe, new tradition — last year (or was it the year before?) we beat each other with scallion to simulate the whips of the slave drivers in Egypt. This year I came across this article in the magazine and thought a Mediterranean slant might be a welcomed change. But, nonetheless, change is good. I have visions of fresh happy veggies dancing across the table.
“I don’t really think we need gefilte fish or soup this year,” I casually mentioned to Drew. “What? What do you mean? What are we going to eat?” It’s Passover,” he was clearly not thinking straight. Hannah called me the next day, “I had dinner with Steven last night and told him you were thinking of not making matzo balls. He was very upset.”
Great, should I tell them that I was thinking of replacing the potato kugel with the Potato Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons? Once again, I stressed — back and forth with the menu. What to do, what to do?
I started thinking: What about the fresh horseradish I make every year? It makes canned gefilte fish come alive. Hmmm, maybe that’s not what I meant. But I think I need the gefilte fish. Now that chicken sounds great but how many chickens does it take to feed everyone? Brisket is so much easier and it’s a crowd pleaser.
The recipes sound delicious — cinnamon, ginger, cumin, cilantro, olives, harissa — but not special. I use these ingredients all the time. I’m going to add the Moroccan Roasted Carrot with Parsley and Chard dish to the menu this Passover.
Brisket, kugel, gefilte fish, fresh horseradish, matzo . . . now these are special. These are foods that I only serve once a year. I don’t think we’re getting it all wrong at all.
Roast chicken, potato tagine . . . all the recipes sound delicious. I will be preparing these dishes but not this week.