Meal planning for the seder is complex but pretty much the same every year. My family and guests like (or expect) a brisket, a baked chicken dish and something vegetarian. It’s the everyday meals where I get in trouble and need something new.
Here are a couple of relatively quick and fuss-free, “everyday” Pesach recipes using Passover pantry staples.
The Oven-Fried Eggplant Cutlets are coated with matzah meal instead of breadcrumbs. This technique is good not just for Passover but for all year. Try the cutlets in this fast and easy Saucy Eggplant Bake. Since spices need to be certified kosher for Passover I’ve limited the seasoning, so be sure to use a flavorful tomato-based pasta sauce.
Ever hear of mock apple pie? It’s made with crackers instead of apples. That mid-20th century recipe was inspired my crustless Matzah Bake Dessert for Pesach. I like to serve it topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of cinnamon-spiced apple sauce or a spoonful of whipped cream.
Oven-Fried Eggplant Cutlets
2 lbs. eggplant
1⁄4 tsp. plus 1⁄2 tsp. salt
oil for baking sheets
1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. ground dried oregano
2 cups matzah meal
4 eggs, beaten
Slice eggplants into 1⁄4-inch rounds. Place in colander. Sprinkle with 1⁄4 tsp. salt. Toss. Let drain for 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Pat slices dry.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 3 or 4 baking sheets with oil. Mix remaining salt with pepper, oregano and matzah meal. Place in bowl. Place eggs in a second bowl. Dip slice of eggplant into egg so it is covered on both sides, shaking off excess. Next dip in matzah meal, coating both sides. Place on greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining rounds, placing on baking sheets in single layers.
Put in oven. After 15 minutes, turn over eggplant. Bake additional 15 minutes, or until slightly golden on the outside and the inside has a creamy texture when you bite into it and is cooked through. Do not overcook. Use with Saucy Eggplant Bake or another recipe or let cool on rack. Store airtight separated by waxed paper in refrigerator.
Saucy Eggplant Bake
oil for baking dish
4-5 cups marinara sauce or other seasoned pasta sauce
1 recipe Oven-Fried Eggplant Cutlets
4-5 oz. cheese such as mozzarella or cheddar, finely shredded
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease large baking dish. Spoon third of the sauce on bottom. Layer half the eggplant over it. Spread another third of sauce over eggplant and sprinkle on half of the cheese. Top with remaining eggplant, sauce and cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and eggplant and sauce are heated through.
Baked Matzah Dessert
1 Tbs. margarine or butter plus extra for pan
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄8 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple juice
21⁄2 sheets of matzah or 2 cups matzah farfel
Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. In a large bowl, mix together egg, juice, zest, cinnamon, salt, sugar and apple juice. Break matzah into 1⁄2-inch pieces (2 cups) and stir in. Let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pour filling with liquid in pan. Cut remaining margarine into small pieces and dot top. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes until gooey (it should be thickened and sticky, much like a pecan pie filling). Serve warm or at room temperature.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.