Passover recipes for eggs, soup and meringues
Leek and Potato Casserole (Quajado)
Quajado is a nice change for a vegetarian brunch entree or a light dinner along with a salad. It holds up well to cutting and can be served hot or at room temperature. It's also a good side dish, buffet offering or, cut into bite-size squares, an easy-to-eat appetizer.
Although leeks sold in supermarkets today generally are not as dirty as in the past, they still do have some grit, so it is best to know how to clean them; see the directions, below. Baking the potatoes yields greater flavor than boiling or microwaving them. Baking the potatoes also provides a drier mash for the mixture.
An added benefit is the leftover potato skins, which become their own kind of treat when layered with cheese, green onions, jalapeño peppers or other toppings and baked until the cheese melts. Add a dollop of sour cream and serve.
3 large or 6 medium russet potatoes (about 3 pounds total)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
6 to 7 large leeks (3 to 3½ pounds total)
1 large or 2 medium carrots, shredded (about ¾ cup)
5 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt (less if using feta or another salty cheese)
½ to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
½ cup crumbled feta or shredded hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Scrub potatoes under cold water, then cover lightly with a teaspoon or two of oil using your hands or a pastry brush. Place potatoes on the baking sheet and prick the skin 4 or 5 times with a fork to let out the steam as they cook. Bake (middle rack) for 50 to 60 minutes, until the insides are very soft when pricked with a fork. Alternately, to cut the baking time, cook the oiled potatoes in a microwave on high for 5 minutes before baking in the oven for about 30 minutes, until soft. Once the potatoes are out of the oven, cut in half the long way and open them to cool faster.
While the potatoes cook, clean and prepare the leeks. Cut off the dark green tops and save for making stock. (They can be washed and stored in the freezer until ready to use.) Cut off the roots and discard. Pull off a couple of layers of the tough part of the white and any damaged parts. Split the white of each leek lengthwise, then cut across into half-inch pieces. You will have 8 to 9 cups of leek pieces.
Place the leeks in colander or strainer that fits into a large bowl (or pot) and wash under cold water. Set the colander into the bowl and fill with cold water. Let soak for a few minutes, then swish the leeks around to dislodge any grit. Give the dirt time to fall to the bottom, then lift out the colander or strainer. Toss and mix the leeks, checking for remaining grit. As needed, rinse the bowl and repeat the washing process.
Alternatively, place the leek pieces in a large bowl and fill with cold water. Let sit for a few minutes, then swish the leeks with your hands. Wait a few moments for any grit to fall to the bottom, then scoop out the leeks with a slotted spoon, disturbing the water in the bowl as little as possible. Set the leek pieces aside, rinse the bowl and repeat washing the leeks as needed.
Set a steamer into a pot with a few inches of water in the bottom and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the clean leek pieces in the steamer, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until very tender.
Transfer the cooked leeks to a colander or strainer and force out any liquid with the back of a spoon.
Scoop out the insides of the cooled potatoes, leaving a thin layer next to the skin. The yield is about 4 cups. Mash together the leeks and potatoes, breaking up any large lumps. Add the grated carrot, beaten eggs, salt, pepper and the cheese, if using. Stir until well incorporated.
Reheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Use 2 tablespoons of the oil to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well heated, then remove it just long enough to spread the leek-potato mixture in the dish in an even layer. (When the pan is really hot, the mixture should sizzle as it hits the oil.) The heated baking dish and its oil will help create a crust on the bottom and sides of the casserole. Gently brush the top of the leek-potato mixture with the remaining oil. Bake (middle rack) for 30 to 35 minutes, until the mixture is firm and golden brown around the edges.
Serve right away, or cool completely before storing.
The quajado can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. The cooked dish freezes well, for up 2 months. Reheat the defrosted casserole, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.
Serves 8 to 10
Nutrition | Per serving (based on 10): 220 calories, 7 g protein, 34 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 95 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar
Spring Egg Drop Soup
This soup is a good way to use up some of the egg yolks generated by all the whites used in Passover baking. Add more of the yolks (or use less), depending on your taste and how many extra yolks you have around.
Unlike most egg drop soups, there is no soy sauce in this version. Soy sauce is among the group of foods not kosher for Passover because it is fermented. Instead, this soup relies on ginger, garlic, mushrooms and the bright spring flavors of asparagus and dill.
8 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth (may substitute no-salt-added chicken broth)
One 1½-to-2-inch piece fresh ginger root (unpeeled), sliced into several pieces
3 to 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 to 7 large cremini (baby bella) mushroom caps, cleaned and thinly sliced
12 asparagus spears
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
¼ teaspoon sesame oil (regular or toasted)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish (may substitute 1 tablespoon dried dill)
1 large carrot, shredded (4 ounces; about 1 cup)
7 scallions, green parts, sliced thinly on the diagonal
Freshly ground black or white pepper
6 large egg yolks (may substitute 4 large whole eggs)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Heat the broth in a soup pot over high heat. Add the ginger, garlic and mushrooms; once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim any tough/woody asparagus ends, then arrange the spears on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on thickness, until crisp tender. When cool enough to handle, cut asparagus in two-inch pieces on the diagonal.
Use a slotted spoon to extract the ginger and garlic pieces from the broth. Discard the ginger; mash the garlic and add it back to the broth. Stir in the sesame oil.
Add the dill, carrot and scallions to the broth, holding out about ¼ cup of the scallions for garnish. Let cook uncovered another 10 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Beat the egg yolks with a fork just until smooth. Use the tines of the fork to slowly drizzle the egg yolk into the broth on low heat, moving around the pot as you drizzle. Do this in 3 or 4 times rather than adding all the egg yolk at once. Each time, wait a moment and then stir to create ribbons of eggs. If using both the yolk and the white, beat the eggs with a fork until almost blended, then add slowly, stirring consistently.
Serve garnished with roasted asparagus pieces, the reserved scallions and more dill.
Nutrition | Per serving (using ½ teaspoon sea salt): 100 calories, 5 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar
Mocha Chip Meringues
Like snowflakes, each of these meringues is light, airy and unique; there's no need to make them look perfect or all the same. The recipe can easily be halved or doubled.
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 large egg whites (see note)
Pinch kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (see note)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper, then grease the paper with cooking oil spray.
Pulse the cocoa and espresso powders in a blender or food processor several times to create a powdery mixture.
Combine the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer, beat on low speed until frothy, then on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form, and the mixture is thick and glossy. This process should take 8 to 10 minutes. Stop to scrape down the bowl a few times as you work.
Sprinkle the cocoa-coffee mixture over the egg mixture; beat on low speed until well incorporated. Increase the speed to high; beat for about 15 seconds. Gently fold in the mini chocolate chips by hand, until just blended.
Use two spoons (tableware) to deposit a total of 24 dollops of the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet; they do not need to look perfect and can be just 1 inch apart. Bake (middle rack) for 50 minutes, until crisped and set. Let cool completely before serving or storing. The meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Makes 24 pieces
Notes: One of the best ways to separate the eggs is Julia Child's method of letting the whites drip through your slightly parted fingers, leaving the yolk intact for other jobs. To make sure there's no yolk at all in your whites (so they will beat up light and fluffy), separate each egg over a small bowl and add the whites one by one to the larger bowl where they will be beaten. It's easiest to separate cold eggs, but then let the whites sit for at least an hour to warm up a bit so they will beat better.
In testing, we liked using mini chocolate chips for these meringues, but regular-size ones will work as well.
Nutrition | Per piece: 46 calories, 1 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 18 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar
Recipes from Susan Barocas