Passover Cookery

Book Review by Norene Gilletz
Excerpted from The Canadian Jewish News, April 2001

Joan Kekst’s Passover Cookery contains an excellent collection of traditional and contemporary recipes, with many low-fat, low-cholesterol dishes, Passover substitutions, plus color photos. She offers a valuable six week countdown to Passover and explanations of its customs and symbolic foods.

Did you know that the custom of using a white tablecloth represents the desert sands the Jews wandered for 40 years? Miriam’s Cup of water recalls how the prophetess led the women to rejoice after crossing the Sea.

In a recent telephone interview, she said “No one should be alone for Passover. I invite my family, all of their extended families, my children’s friends – everyone is welcome!” Enjoy!

SPINACH MOUSSAKA (Pareve or Dairy)

4 matzo slices
1 1/4 lb. fresh spinach, stems removed (or 2 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen spinach)
1 medium onion, and 2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. chopped mushrooms
2 tbsp. almonds, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. dill leaves, minced
2 tbsp. matzo meal
2 eggs plus 1 egg white
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 9″ square pan with 1 tbsp. oil.

Briefly dip matzo slices in water to soften. Drain on paper towels. Fit 2 matzo slices on bottom of pan. Thoroughly drain frozen spinach. Wash fresh spinach; remove stems and cook in salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and chop.

Saute onion and garlic in 2 tbsp. oil until golden; add mushrooms. Cook until mushroom juices evaporate. Season with salt and pepper, add spinach, lemon juice and almonds; remove from heat. Cool. Lightly beat 2 eggs with a pinch of salt, stir into spinach mixture. Adjust flavour and add dill and a bit of matzo meal if needed.

Brush matzo in pan with oil; spread with potatoes. Top with spinach mixture, cover with remaining matzo and brush with oil. Beat egg white with 1 tbsp. oil; add nutmeg and brush on matzo. Bake 50 minutes, baste with remaining egg white and grated nutmeg several times. Bake until top is lightly browned.

Serves 6 as a main course.

Note: Add 1 cup Ricotta cheese to spinach mixture for a hearty Passover dairy meal.

Passover Cookery
by Joan Kekst

Five Star Publications
168 pp

(US$24.95, CAD$37.50)

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