Lemony smoked salmon dip
Green apple charoset
Beet and fennel salad with orange dressing
Lemon chicken with green olives
Schmaltz smashed potatoes
Toasted hazelnut ice cream
(Can be made a day in advance.)
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
1 green apple
2 tbs wine (any wine will do, I used a splash of a Côtes du Rhône I had opened)
2 tbs honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a skillet, toast walnuts on medium heat for a few minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Chop apple roughly and remove the core. In a food processor, combine toasted walnuts, chopped apples, and the rest of the ingredients and purée until a rough paste is formed. Serve with matzo.
(Serves four. You can prepare the vegetables a few hours in advance, and assemble the salad before serving.)
2 red beets
2 golden beets
Juice of half an orange
Extra virgin olive oil
Parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°. Rinse beets and chop off greens (save the greens for a pesto if you like). Wrap beets individually in foil and place in a single layer in a baking dish. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a sharp knife pierces them easily. Remove from oven and let cool.
Slice radishes and fennel into thin rounds and set aside. When beets are cool enough to handle, remove foil. Peel the skin off the beets, then slice them thinly.
Combine beets, fennel, and radishes in a salad bowl. Add orange juice and drizzle with olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with sea salt and parsley and serve.
LEMON CHICKEN WITH GREEN OLIVES
8 chicken thighs, with skin and bones intact
2 lemons, sliced thinly
1 6-oz can pitted green olives, strained
Preheat oven to 375°. Pat chicken thighs so they're completely dry, then sprinkle both sides liberally with salt, smoked paprika, and cumin. Coat the bottom of a large, shallow pan with vegetable oil, and set on stove at medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add chicken, one at a time and in a single layer, skin side down. You may need to do this in batches. Sear chicken until golden brown, about 5 minutes, then flip and sear the other side for another 5 minutes. Once each thigh is browned, move to a casserole or baking dish that can fit all 8 thighs in one layer.
Once all the chicken is browned and in the casserole, set aside the pan and cooking oil for use in the next recipe. Sprinkle the chicken again with salt, smoked paprika, and cumin. Layer lemon slices on top of chicken. Sprinkle olives on top of lemon and chicken, spreading evenly around the dish. Cover the casserole tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked through and tender.
SCHMALTZ SMASHED POTATOES
2 lbs fingerling potatoes
Rendered chicken fat, duck fat, or butter
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs rosemary
1/3 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a thin knife. Drain and dry the potatoes.
If you made the chicken in the previous recipe, use the pan you used for browning the chicken, and the fat that rendered from the browning in the following step. If you're starting fresh, add chicken fat or butter to a large, shallow pan and set to medium on the stove. Once fat is hot, add potatoes in one layer (you may have to do this in batches). While potatoes fry, use the back of a wooden spoon to press down on the potatoes and smash them slightly. Some may break apart, which is fine. Add garlic and rosemary. Continue to fry potatoes until golden brown on one side, about 7 minutes, then flip and brown the other side.
Once potatoes are browned, turn heat to low and add wine. Simmer a few minutes until wine is reduced. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
TOASTED HAZELNUT ICE CREAM
(You will, naturally, need an ice cream maker for this recipe. The custard will need to cool for several hours, so start this recipe at least 6 hours or a day in advance.)
1 cup hazelnuts
2 tbs brown sugar
Large pinch salt
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar (or if you have it, vanilla sugar)
6 egg yolks
In a skillet, toast whole hazelnuts on medium low heat, stirring occasionally so as not to burn, until browned and fragrant. Set aside and let cool.
In a large sauce pan, heat half and half on low. Slice vanilla bean in half and scrape seeds into pan with half and half (I like to use a chopstick for this purpose). Save the empty vanilla bean for vanilla sugar (simply place it in a jar with white sugar to add a nice mild vanilla flavor to recipes such as... this one, as you'll see). Heat half and half and vanilla on low, stirring occasionally, until steaming but not boiling.
Meanwhile, add toasted hazelnuts, brown sugar, and salt to a food processor and puree until you have a thick paste. Add this paste to the half and half mixture and continue to cook on low for another 5 minutes, careful not to let it boil. If you have the time, take this mixture off heat and let it steep for an hour or so in the refrigerator. If not, continue to the next step.
Use an electric mixer to whisk egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl until mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add a ladleful of the half and half mixture to the eggs and stir to combine. Slowly stir this mixture into the remaining half and half mixture. Cook on low, stirring, until mixture is thick but not boiling. Strain the custard through a sieve or cheesecloth into a bowl. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Once custard is completely cooled, churn in an ice cream maker according to instructions. The ice cream is best served immediately, or you can freeze it and then let it soften for 10 minutes before serving.
Chag sameach to those celebrating Passover this weekend! I'm getting back to this ice cream now.