Jump to content

Green Veg for a Seder?


darkstar965
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'd like to ask for some help. I wasn't sure whether to put this under the more obvious "help" forum but, since it's a home cooking thing, I've put it here.

I'm on the hook to bring a "green vegetable dish" to a seder this weekend. There will be several food people and at least one accomplished baker/confectioner there. Also, this will be a mediterranean seder; I'm forgetting the proper name reflecting that branch of Judaism.

My challenge is that I've only been to 2 or so seders in my life and that I'm struggling to think of something that would really be popular and different.

I know it has to be gluten free. I'm pretty good at following recipes and even know a little technique.

Any ideas that might have other attendees asking me for the recipe and stuttering "how, how, how....did you do that?"

Maybe that's too high an aspiration for just a vegetable (or for me) but, then again, this is donrockwell.com

Thank you all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you are headed to a Sephardic seder, at least that's what my mind associates with Mediterranean and Judaism. Well, the Times yesterday had a story about a Sephardic seder and one link there led to a dish of Braised Greek Artichoke Bottoms with Lemon and Olive Oil as well as Turkish Spinach with Tomatoes and Rice, both of which sounds pretty good to me...though maybe not green enough? (Also, according to the site, rice at Passover might or might not be acceptable.)

I think I'm now going down the recipe search rabbit hole...always fun!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Artichokes sound like a great choice! Not sure if fresh favas have come in from California yet. If you find pleasure in weighing options, I'd also explore what recognized cookbook authors inspire.

Joan Nathan is first name that springs to mind, but she's not so much into Sephardic traditions though her website has a recipe for harissa that you could incorporate into a dish of leafy greens or room-temperature, trimmed and roasted or grilled artichokes.

There are so many terrific books not only on Jewish cooking, but also on Middle-Eastern and Spanish cooking that would help, most likely with recipes online. Paula Wolfert, for example, is a great font. A local expert on things Persian: Najmieh Batmanglij. There's Clifford Wright whose initial interest in Arab roots of Sicilian food make him a great resource. Then, there's Claudia Rosen. Joyce Goldstein who has a book on Sephardic food, I believe, but I searched via what I know of her interest in Italy's Jews. This link to Moro East offers a parade of related titles below. Maloufs are fab, too. I'll leave you to researching Spanish books--or not.

ETA: My link to Sephardim was apparently to one of those misleading websites that simply fill your browser with advertising cookies in addition to broken links, so I removed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! This is an amazing collection of advice and resources in just four posts. Love the ideas (greek artichokes!), the author reccs, and the websites (esp the Times article, sephardim and food52 seder pointouts).

As one already getting used to the amazing treasure trove of talent, expertise and generosity that pervades this website, I was a bit floored by my 4th or 5th click.

So many great options. I think I'm going to do what I know serious cooks and chefs do and be ingredient driven. I think I'm leaning toward either greek artichokes or asparagus as the central component depending on what looks best at farmers' markets over the next few days.

Thanks a TON, Anna Blume, FishInnards, and TheMatt!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So many great options. I think I'm going to do what I know serious cooks and chefs do and be ingredient driven. I think I'm leaning toward either greek artichokes or asparagus as the central component depending on what looks best at farmers' markets over the next few days.

Please note the editing of my original post above; sadly what appeared to be a terrific resource was not. On the other hand, it promised recipes for leeks which you'll find in farmers markets; I recommend Next-Step's at Dupont. You won't find local artichokes yet and I haven't met one I've thought was all that, so I'd go with ones purchased indoors.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please note the editing of my original post above; sadly what appeared to be a terrific resource was not. On the other hand, it promised recipes for leeks which you'll find in farmers markets; I recommend Next-Step's at Dupont. You won't find local artichokes yet and I haven't met one I've thought was all that, so I'd go with ones purchased indoors.

You can't beat fresh asparagus. Sometimes the more complicated the meal, the nicer it is to have a simple vegetable dish.

That's what I feared about the artichokes. I'm hoping with the wacky warm weather we've had for months that I might find something in this week's markets which can star. Does anyone know whether good asparagus is in the outdoor markets now? The online directories aren't in agreement on that. I think bookluvingbabe makes a great point. I was thinking of maybe trying one of the thinly shaved raw asparagus salad dishes if I can get some nice spears whether purple, white or green.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's what I feared about the artichokes. I'm hoping with the wacky warm weather we've had for months that I might find something in this week's markets which can star. Does anyone know whether good asparagus is in the outdoor markets now? The online directories aren't in agreement on that. I think bookluvingbabe makes a great point. I was thinking of maybe trying one of the thinly shaved raw asparagus sald dishes if I can get some nice spears whether purple, white or green.

The only real "spring" veg I saw last Sunday at the Dupont farmers' market was ramps. There may be asparagus somewhere this week, but I'd have a plan B, either buying them at Whole Foods or going with spinach, chard or kale which lots of folks are selling at the FMs or some of the Asian greens that Next Step and Tree& Leaf have had.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Asparagus can be found at local farmers markets if you arrive before they open and scout around, provided the stalks didn't freeze this week like most did last week.

Somehow the assertive flavor of asparagus doesn't strike me as a particularly good complement to Sephardic food, though you could roast it and serve it at room temperature with a Middle-Eastern inspired dressing (orange or Meyer lemon) and maybe something like a haroset garnish (instead of sieved HB eggs), heavy on the nuts and with herbs and a little citrus zest vs. dried fruits.

I'd be more inclined to go with greens or delicate leaves were I set on featuring freshly picked produce from the Chesapeake Bay watershed, especially since we're not smack dab in the middle of asparagus season. Still, I really like The M's first suggestion since there are so many cool things you can do with artichokes, mindful of blb's recommended simplicity. Artichokes are in season. They're great at room temperature and while assertive, more culturally relevant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You won't find local artichokes yet and I haven't met one I've thought was all that, so I'd go with ones purchased indoors.

I really like The M's first suggestion since there are so many cool things you can do with artichokes, mindful of blb's recommended simplicity. Artichokes are in season. They're great at room temperature and while assertive, more culturally relevant.

Just making sure I understand your advice since I'm not sure I realized we had local artichokes. By "in season" and "purchased indoors," I'm assuming you mean globes from California? Artichokes do sound like a great idea for the reasons you cite and because they're a bit more likely to grab attention if I can find good ones and choose the right recipe (maybe Matt's which also keeps to blb's simple suggestion). Would you think Whole Foods best to check for them or somewhere else?

Thanks for the thoughts on asparagus btw. Between it being very early season and not too sephardic, you've steered me away from that idea. Also leaning away from greens since kale, chard and salads have either been mainstays of winter or not as easy to do something original with. Artichokes sound like a great way to go just giving up the idea of being able to use something local. Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just picked up 2 lbs. of asparagus from some folks at the Penn Quarter Farmers Market this afternoon to be served for Easter dinner. Nena is going to do something with them. They are from a farm in Southern Virgina (Anna Blume has the 411). Will let you know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just picked up 2 lbs. of asparagus from some folks at the Penn Quarter Farmers Market this afternoon to be served for Easter dinner. Nena is going to do something with them. They are from a farm in Southern Virgina (Anna Blume has the 411). Will let you know.

Funny. I'd planned on hitting Penn Quarter today until I abandoned the asparagus idea. Then, when I realized that none of the Whole Foods in town had artichokes and I saw some good sized asparagus bunches at Friendship Heights, bought a couple of pounds of those. Then, I called a few Wegmans, finding just one that had artichokes in stock just as Zora's H Mart idea posted above.

Anyway, to keep this short, I now have a couple lbs of green California asparagus and a dozen medium artichokes. Tomorrow night's the seder so I'll bring both to have a more culturally relevant option (fried artichokes and lemon with a middle eastern style chickpea puree) along with the lighter option (sliced raw asparagus salad). We'll see how this all comes together -- thanks again everyone; the advice above really helped a lot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A final thanks to everyone upthread for the help.

It took me about 4 hours but I chose a "Carciofi alla giuda" with some fried lemon and an Israeli-style hummus for dipping. I bought the dozen artichokes at H Mart (thanks Zora) for about $1 less per artichoke than the ones which miraculously appeared at my local Whole Foods the next day. Due to the time it took, I had to bag the asparagus idea so will try that tomorrow for a smaller group. Seems like an easier dish and I'd already found and toasted some fresh filberts anyway.

Somehow, the artichoke dish all came out very well. I used just about an inch of virgin (not EVOO) olive oil for the frying in a heavy bottom Le Crueset pot, taking about 12 minutes in total with occasional turning to get the nice golden-brown color. Had to do these in batches. A quick sprinkling of Maldon while still hot from the oil and then paired with the garbanzo dip, we had a winner almost worthy of the brisket, matzo ball soup, flourless chocolate cake and other dishes brought by people who really knew what they were doing.

Thanks again, everyone!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...