Passover Boot Camp
Eggs are one of most versatile ingredients in the kitchen. From savory to sweet, eggs are not only an essential ingredient in baked goods, custards and sauces, but, also play the starring role in many dishes. Eggs take on a whole new importance during Passover. They seem to be in every dish, and lots of them! I think it essential to have a game plan for the holiday and a slew of egg dishes in your repertoire. Here are some of my favorite recipes for the holiday and every day. They are simple and crowd pleasing. Be sure to choose the freshest eggs possible. Check not only to make sure the eggs are not broken or cracked, but also to be sure the eggs are fresh.
The perfect had boiled egg has a soft, creamy orange-yellow yolk and a tender white. Over-cooked hard boiled eggs have tough whites with crumbling yellow-greenish yolks that are foul smelling and impossible to work with.
The secret to a perfect hard-boiled egg is perfect timing. I recommend starting with room temperature eggs. This helps to prevent the shell from cracking and aids in even cooking. I leave my eggs out overnight or for at least a few hours. Once the eggs are hard boiled, they can be stored, in their shells, in the refrigerator, or peeled and stored in water in the refrigerator.
8 large eggs at room temperature
- Place the eggs in a small sauce pan and cover with cold water. Heat the pan over medium heat. Once the water has come to a steady boil, turn off the heat and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, plunge the eggs into cold water and allow them to cool completely.
- The cooked eggs can be stored, in their shells, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
I always have Deviled Eggs for Shabbat lunch. They are satisfying, easy to make and keep my family happy while I am getting the rest of lunch together. My son, Jonah, loves the eggs with spicy aioli and my special addition of finely minced smoked salmon. My Deviled eggs are like a mini-meal and with a salad have been just that in a pinch.
Deviled Eggs start with hard-boiled eggs and creamy aioli (mayonnaise). I prefer homemade aioli. Once you get the hang of it, it is a snap to whip up and then you can control the quality of the ingredients in the classic French sauce. During Passover, I use a French extra virgin olive oil that is buttery and delicious. All extra virgin olive oils with or without a hechsher are kosher for Passover, so get a good one and enjoy it during and after the Chag.
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Water
Several dashes of hot sauce (optional)
3 tablespoons Lemon Juice plus zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups best quality extra virgin olive oil
- Place the egg yolks, water, hot sauce, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper in the work bowl of a food processor or blender.
- With the motor running, drop by drop, add the olive oil until the mixture begins to thicken (you will see it “catch”). Once the aioli has started to thicken, you can add the oil a bit faster.
- Store the aioli, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
For the Deviled Eggs
8 Hard-boiled eggs
3-4 tablespoons homemade or store-bought aioli
1-2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 medium shallot, minced
2 ounces Smoked Salmon, minced finely
2 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Cut the eggs in half (I like to cut my eggs in half lengthwise. I think they stand up prettier and then each bite has a bit of filling versus cutting across the egg, results in at least one bite without filling!) You may need to cut a tiny bit of egg from the end so the “egg cup” stands up.
- Scoop out the yolks and place in a fine mesh sieve. Rub the yolks through the sieve with your hand. This makes the yolks fluffy and lump free.
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Scoop the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
- Pipe the filling into the “egg cups”. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day before serving.
Suggested garnishes-additional chives, parsley, sliced truffles, dash of hot sauce, finely minced cooked chicken instead of salmon
Perfect Poached Eggs
Poached eggs are a childhood favorite. My mother always made my brothers and me poached eggs when we were sick and stayed home from school. It was a comforting routine that I wish for as an adult. I love the soft, tender white and creamy warm yolk that was perfect for sopping up with toast. I wonder if she would come to Chicago from Florida and make me some?
My mother used this crazy concocted pan with egg cups that were set into a pan insert. The egg cups held the eggs just barely in the simmering water. Once the eggs were cooked, you could pluck the egg cup out of the insert and invert it over your plate. I doubt they still make that pan, and I am not sure I would want one anyway. The pan had 5 pieces that all required cleaning and still only made 4 eggs at a time. With 3 kids each wanting 2 eggs, there was some mealtime cleaning in-between batches of eggs.
Here is a simple; no gadget required poached egg technique.
1 teaspoon white vinegar (the vinegar helps the egg white coagulate and tighten making for a tidy looking egg)
Kosher salt and cracked pepper
- Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fill the pan with about 2 inches of water and bring to a simmer.
- Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs, individually, into small cups or bowls. Each egg needs its own bowl.
- Gently pour the eggs, one at a time, into the simmering water. Spoon the white over the egg while the eggs are simmering.
- The eggs are done when the white has tightened up, but the yolk is still liquid (about 3-5 minutes). Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and blot off the excess water on a clean towel.
- Either serve the eggs immediately or place the eggs in cold water to stop the cooking and to hold them.
- To reheat poached eggs: place pan of barely simmering water over a burner and transfer the eggs into the water for a few seconds. Blot off the excess water and serve.
Salad with Sautéed Mushrooms, Poached Egg and Shallot Vinaigrette
This salad is one of my favorite entrée salads or elegant starter salads. The poached egg adds heartiness and textural interest. The warm yolk mixes with the vinaigrette and makes a savory sauce that coats the lettuce leaves perfectly. I add sautéed mushrooms, but you can add any vegetables you like.
Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons chopped chives
4 poached eggs
4 cups of favorite salad greens (baby spinach, endive, arugula or your favorite)
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Sauté the mushrooms until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic and fresh herbs and continue sautéing for another 3 minutes until the garlic is very fragrant.
- Heat a sauté pan with water over low heat. Add the poached eggs and gently warm them for a few minutes until the yolks are warm, but still very soft.
- Season the salad greens with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the greens on a large platter or individual plates. Divide the mushrooms between the plates, add the poached eggs and drizzle with shallot vinaigrette.
2 teaspoons honey
3 medium shallots, minced finely
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This classic French dessert sauce is versatile and can dress up a simple dessert to a VIP level. My favorite summer dessert is berries covered in sabayon and flashed under the broiler until the sabayon is bubbly and lightly browned. Delicious!
6 egg yolks
1 cup champagne or sweet white wine
1/3 cup sugar, plus more to taste
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1-2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
If you want to serve the sabayon warm, make it at the last minute. If you want to glaze the sabayon under the broiler, or make it ahead of time to serve chilled, have ready a large bowl (larger than the one in which you whip the sauce) partly filled with ice water.
- Whisk to blend the yolks, wine, sugar and vanilla bean in a stainless-steel bowl.
- Rest the bowl in a saucepan over simmering water. Be sure the bowl is not touching the surface of the water or you will have scrambled eggs.
- Whisk constantly for 5 minutes or more to cook the sauce, until it has the consistency of lightly whipped cream.
- Taste the sauce — the sabayon should never get so hot that you can’t stick your very clean finger in it — and whisk drops of lemon juice or more sugar if you want. When thick, foamy, and tripled in volume, remove from heat.
- If you are serving the sabayon hot, spoon the sabayon over berries that are in an oven proof dish. Lightly sprinkle the top with sugar and place the dish under the broiler until the sabayon is lightly browned and bubbly.
- If serving chilled, place the sabayon bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice water and whisk the sabayon until it has cooled completely. Store the sabayon, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.