A Top-Chef Passover

A Top-Chef Passover

A celebration of (culinary) freedom, with wines to match, courtesy of three of N.Y.’s finest.

I n the traditional Jewish liturgy, Passover is referred to as the “Festival of Matzah, the time of our freedom.” But while the holiday may be about freedom, at times it can feel like it’s only about matzah, and its dietary restrictions can certainly make eaters and drinkers feel anything but free.

In truth, however, with the growth of the Passover food industry, it is easier than ever to dine well during Passover. To help prove this point, we have asked the chefs at three of New York’s best-known kosher fine dining restaurants to provide us with Passover-friendly recipes.

We also asked each chef to recommend a wine to accompany his dish. Finding just the right wine to go with a dish can be a daunting challenge, and chefs are often the best guides in selecting the right ones.

The Abigael’s dining room. Courtesy of Abigael’s

Chag sameach and bon appétit!

“Twice Chai Garlic Chicken”

From Jeff Nathan, chef/owner of Abigael’s on Broadway, 1407 Broadway, at 39th Street

(Serves 8)

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

8 chicken legs and thighs, cut at the joint
(about 5 lbs.)

1/2 onion, sliced to half moons

36 whole cloves garlic, about two bulbs, peeled

1 tbsp. dry oregano

1 tbsp. tapioca flour

2 large lemons, juiced

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup Empire Kosher for Passover
Chicken Broth

6 stalks scallions, cut on an angle
to medium pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down into the hot oil. Sear for about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a holding plate and reserve.

To the same pot add in the onions and garlic. Reduce the heat to very low. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are wilted and the garlic is lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Stir in the oregano and tapioca flour. Cook for 1 minute.

Pour in the lemon juice, white wine and Empire Kosher for Passover Chicken Broth. Gently whisk until well blended. Return the seared chicken pieces skin side up, and any remaining drippings from the reserve plate to the Dutch oven.

Cover and place in a 400°F. oven for 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove from the oven and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions and serve hot.

Chef Nathan pairs his dish with Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc/Viognier or Psagot Chardonnay.

“Sautéed Veal Sweetbreads with Mango Quinoa, Mâche and Star Anise Vinaigrette”

From Mark Hennessey, the longtime executive chef at Le Marais, 150 W. 46th St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues. From his new cookbook, “Le Marais: A Rare Steakhouse – Well Done” (Geffen)

(Serves 6)

2 lbs. of veal sweetbreads

1 bunch of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

1 lemon, cut in half

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed

2 cups of chicken stock or water

1 small shallot, minced

1 stalk of celery, minced

1/2 small carrot, peeled and small dice

6 sprigs of tarragon

1 ripe mango, peeled, diced

1 cup of mâche

1/2 cup of red wine vinegar

8 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. ground star anise

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tbsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

3 tsp. raw sugar

Salt and black pepper

Into a medium-sized pot, add the sweetbreads, thyme, garlic and lemon. Cover the sweetbreads with cold water and then bring to a boil. Lower the pot to a simmer, cover, and then simmer on low temperature for about 1½ hours until the sweetbreads are cooked all of the way through, and very tender. Remove the sweetbreads from the pot and then plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Discard the rest of the contents of the pot.

Remove the outer membrane from the sweetbreads. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and then put into the refrigerator until you are ready for service.

While the sweetbreads are cooking, start the quinoa. Into a large skillet (not a pot) add enough extra virgin to lightly coat the bottom of the skillet. Bring to a medium heat. Add the shallots, celery and carrot to the pan and sauté until all of the vegetables are soft and just slightly browned. Add the quinoa and toast in the hot pan for 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock or water, season with salt and pepper and add 4 sprigs of tarragon. Once brought up to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook the quinoa until all of the stock is fully absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.

For the vinaigrette, add the red wine vinegar, star anise, garlic clove, juices of lime and lemon, and the raw sugar into the cup of a blender. Run the blender until the ingredients are fully pureed and then while the blender is running, slowly add the extra virgin olive oil. Season the vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.

Prepare a large skillet with a coating of extra virgin olive oil and put on the stove on to medium heat. Begin browning the sweetbreads until they are very crisp on each side. Complete the sautéing of all of the sweetbreads.

For plating, drizzle a small amount of the vinaigrette into the quinoa as well as the diced mango pieces. Place the sautéed sweetbread atop the quinoa salad. Dress the mâche in the vinaigrette and top the salad with the leaves. Garnish with the remaining tarragon leaves and drizzle the entire plate with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Chef Hennessey suggests pairing his dish with either Shiloh Barbera or Capcanes Peraj Petita.

“Marinated Filet of London Broil & Roasted Fricassée of Baby Vegetables”

From Jean-Claude Teulade, executive chef of Chagall Bistro, 305 Fifth St., at Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn

(Serves 6)

3 lbs. of lean London broil roast

¼ cup of za’atar (or other blend
of Mediterranean spices)

¼ cup of sumac

2 tbsp. of cracked black pepper

2 tbsp. of kosher salt

6 tbsp. of olive oil for the roast,
plus more for the vegetables

or your choice of baby vegetables
(baby turnips, baby carrots, baby
squash, pearl onions,
cherry tomatoes, etc.)

Shallots, chopped

Garlic, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Coat your roast generously with the za’atar, sumac, cracked pepper and kosher salt, then drizzle with olive oil and let sit overnight. The next day heat up a roasting pan and seared the filet of London broil on each side. Put in pre-heated oven at 400°F for 15 minutes and let rest for another 15 minutes (in a warm place, covered with foil) before serving.

Add your choice of baby vegetables. All vegetables once peeled and washed must be quickly poached in boiling salted water then shocked in iced water (to stop the cooking and keep the colors bright). After that take a sautéed pan, add olive oil, chopped shallot and garlic; slowly caramelize your vegetables on low heat, add salt and pepper to your taste.

Chef Teulade recommends pairing with a French red, Burgundy or Bordeaux, to balance with the strongly spiced flavors of the dish.

FYI: If you want to take a break from cooking this Passover, both Abigael’s on Broadway and Le Marias will be open during the holiday.

Gamliel Kronemer writes the Fruit of the Vine kosher wine column for the paper.