The Passover seder has been around for thousands of years, first as a springtime festival and later, for the early Jews during Roman times or perhaps earlier, converted into a holiday commemorating the exodus from Egypt. The holiday was moved to people’s homes after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the meal eventually became known as a seder. It is truly awesome to celebrate a meal has been continually practiced for millennia.
A very brief description of the foods at Passover Seder
A traditional Seder would include discussing the biblical story, drinking four cups of wine, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate and reclining in celebration of freedom. As a mark of respect for the memory of the sacrificial lamb, the eating of whole roasted lamb during Passover is forbidden by Jewish law. So skip the lamb.
A typical Passover Seder plate includes six foods: Karpas (a green vegetable like parsley), which symbolizes the initial flourishing of the Israelites in Egypt and the new spring, Charoset (or Haroset) (a sweet fruit mixture made with wine, honey or nuts) to represent the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings for the Pharaoh, Maror (a bitter herb, often horseradish) to represent the bitterness of slavery, Chezeret (a second bitter herb, often romaine), Z'roa (roasted lamb shank bone) to symbolize the lamb that the Jews sacrificed in the Temple of Jerusalem, and Beitzah (a roasted or hard-boiled egg) to symbolize the sacrifice (called "hagigah") that would be offered every holiday, and whose roundness represents the cycle of life. Three pieces of matzah and a container of salt water or vinegar would also be on any Seder table. Passover matzah, eaten in order to remind people of how quickly their ancestors fled Egypt (which happened in such a flurry that there was no time to let bread rise), must be made from wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt. And don't forget the 4 cups of wine or to recline on your left side while dring the wine and eating the matzah.
All the other traditions are important, but a flavorful meal with some unique variations can make the passover seder truly special. We have some recipes that take the traditional foods to a new level. First, we think the grass fed bison, sustainably raised on the great plains of the Dakotas offers a new flavorful, healthy and environmentally friendly ingredient of traditional foods.
The key ingredients for these recipes are available at To-Table and links are provided.
Save 25% with Foodie Friends Discount
Buy 4 or more of the same item from To-Table (one for you and 3+ on behalf of close-by foodie friends or family) and save 25% on that item. Share the savings as you wish!
Use Discount code "ShippingCircle" at checkout. Shipping is Included
Haroset-Braised Short Ribs
- 2 pounds Bison short ribs (after bones removed) From To-Table
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 5 small carrots (about 1 pound), 1 roughly chopped, 4 halved lengthwise and reserved
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 cups Blackberry Manischewitz wine
- 3/4 cups red-wine vinegar
- 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
- 1/4 bunch fresh curly-leaf parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup walnut halves, for garnish
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into wedges
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Place racks in middle and lower thirds of the oven. Pat dry the short ribs with paper towels and generously season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Sear half of the short ribs on all sides until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining short ribs.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the chopped carrot, celery, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.Add the cinnamon and stir until vegetables are evenly coated. Add wine, vinegar, and herbs, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.
Add back the short ribs and any accumulated juices to pot, nestling them into vegetables and liquid to form a single layer (as best you can– it might be a tight fit depending on the size of your Dutch oven). Bring to a simmer, cover pot, and transfer to the oven. Braise until short ribs are very tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.
While the ribs cook, toss the walnuts with remaining tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Toast on lower oven rack until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. Let cool.
Remove the short ribs from pot. Pour braising liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard solids and transfer liquid to a fat separator; pour off fat. (If you don’t have a fat separator, you can also add the liquid to a container and refrigerate. Skim off the top layer of fat after about 20 minutes in the fridge)
Return the liquid to the pot and add reserved halved carrots to pot and simmer until crisp-tender, about 13 minutes. Add apples and simmer, stirring occasionally, until both carrots and apples are tender, about 12 minutes more. Braising liquid should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; if it’s not, transfer carrots and apples to bowl with short ribs and reduce braising liquid until thickened. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Divide short ribs, carrots, and apples among 4 shallow bowls, spooning braising liquid over the ribs. Garnish with walnuts and parsley sprigs.
Bison Brisket with Meyer Lemon Pomegranate Gremolata
FOR THE BRISKET
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- Bison Brisket (3 pounds) From To-Table
- 3 Meyer lemons FromTo-Table
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE GREMOLATA
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Flaked sea salt
- Make the brisket: Mash garlic and a pinch of salt using a mortar and pestle or the side of a knife until a paste forms. Season brisket with 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, then rub with one-quarter of the paste. Transfer to a baking dish. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely zest and juice 2 lemons. Juice remaining lemon. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear brisket until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pour lemon juice over brisket, and add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the meat (2 to 3 cups). Raise heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Braise brisket, covered, in oven for 1 hour 15 minutes. Flip brisket, add remaining garlic paste, and continue braising until brisket is easily shredded with a fork, about 1 hour. Stir in reserved zest. Braise, uncovered, for 10 minutes more. (If the sauce seems too thin or not flavorful enough, remove brisket, and bring to a boil until desired consistency and flavor are reached.)
- Make the gremolata: Toss together pomegranate seeds, parsley, chives, lemon zest, and garlic. Season with sea salt.
- Slice brisket. Serve with pan juices and pomegranate gremolata.
- 3 lbs. salmon filet Remove Skin. Quality of salmon matters - From To-Table
- 3 shallot
- 3 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 tsp. chili flake
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 1/2 c. dry white wine
- Juice from 1 1/2 lemon
- 12 oz. smoked salmon From To-Table
- 3 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 tbsp. sour cream
- 3 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- Cut salmon filet into 1-inch cubes. Add shallots, salt, and chili flake, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 heaping tablespoon butter and wine, and let heat up until butter melts. Add lemon juice and salmon-shallot mix. Cook covered for about 5 minutes, so that the salmon steams and cooks most of the way through but is still a little pink in the center.
- In a medium bowl, tear up smoked salmon into shreds. Add tarragon, cooked salmon mixture, and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend together. Alternatively, you can blend and shred the ingredients together using two forks.
Smoked Whitefish Quenelles with Two Sauces
For the Quenelle:
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
- 3 white onions, finely sliced
- 4 lb. 6 oz. smoked white fish fillets, mince From To-Table
- 4 tablespoons fine matzo meal or breadcrumbs
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 12 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup iced water
For the poaching broth:
- 3 white onions
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 12 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 12 teaspoon white pepper
For the dill sauce:
- 3 cups whole egg mayonnaise
- 3 cups fresh dill, very finely chopped
- 1–2 tablespoons lemon juice
- white pepper and salt, to taste
For the red pepper sauce:
- 3 cups whole egg mayonnaise
- 10 strips pickled red peppers/capsicums
- 1 teaspoon prepared white horseradish
Make quenelles: Heat oil and margarine and fry onions until just soft. Gently combine remaining fish quenelle ingredients in a large bowl, mixing thoroughly. Add more iced water if the mixture is too stiff. Using slightly moistened hands, shape into 3–4cm round or oval-shaped quenelles and refrigerate until firm.
Make poaching broth: Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Bring poaching broth back to the boil, drop in the quenelles and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 1 hour, gently stirring occasionally to ensure quenelles do not stick to the bottom. Remove pot from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature. Remove quenelles with a slotted spoon and place them in a dish. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, pour over the quenelles and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make dill sauce: Blend all ingredients. Make red pepper sauce: Blend all ingredients. Place two quenelles onto individual serving plates. Pour dill sauce over one and red pepper sauce over the other, so that they are both well coated.
Salted Chocolate Toffee Matzo
- 1 cup (8 oz.) salted butter, plus butter to grease pan
- 4 to 5 sheets lightly salted matzos
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt, if desired
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 18- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Grease foil with butter. Arrange matzos in prepared pan, breaking as necessary to fit and completely cover bottom.
Bring 1 cup butter and brown sugar to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium, whisking occasionally. Boil, whisking constantly, 3 minutes. Carefully pour mixture over matzos; spread over matzos.
Bake in preheated oven until bubbly all over, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove baking sheet from oven to a wire rack. Let stand 1 minute. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top; let stand until chips soften, about 2 minutes. Spread chocolate over brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle with pecans; sprinkle with salt, if desired. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Chill toffee until firm, about 30 minutes. Break or cut into about 36 pieces.