Helen Nash, author of Kosher Cuisine and Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen, has a wonderful New Year’s present for kosher cooks everywhere. Available at bookstores around the country and online retailers, Helen Nash’s New Kosher Cuisine: Healthy, Simple & Stylish (Overlook Press, $35.00) offers easy-to-follow recipes that take a modern twist on classic dishes. From broccoli with panko to roast capon with olives to the surprisingly simple apricot souffle, Nash will help you take your meals to a delicious new level.
Roast Capon with Olives (meat)
Makes 10 to 12 servings
Capons have a subtly sweet taste that is quite different from chicken and turkey. The olives add an interesting flavor and give the sauce a delicious taste and texture. I often serve this dish at Passover, and my family and friends (especially the olive lovers) always ask for second helpings.
1 capon, about 9 pounds
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup tightly packed flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, quartered
3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, melted
1 cup dry white wine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Discard any excess fat from the capon. Rinse it inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside and out with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Thinly slice one of the onions and set aside. Quarter the other onion and place it in the cavity along with the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the olives.
Brush the capon with margarine and place it on its side in a roasting pan. Scatter the sliced onions and the remaining olives around the pan.
Roast the capon for 35 minutes, basting with one-third of the wine.
Turn the capon on its other side and roast for another 35 minutes, again basting with a third of the wine. Turn the capon breast side up for 15 minutes, basting with the remaining wine. Turn the breast side down for another 15 minutes. The capon is ready when the drumstick juices run clear. (The total cooking time is about 1 hour and 40 minutes, or about 11 minutes per pound.)
Remove the capon from the oven and cover it tightly with heavy foil. Let it stand for 20 minutes to let the juices flow back into the tissues. Place it on a cutting board.
Pour the liquid from the baking pan, along with the olives and onions, into a small saucepan. Place the saucepan in the freezer for about 10 minutes, so that the fat can quickly rise to the top. (This makes it easier to remove.)
To serve: Skim off the fat and reheat the sauce. Discard the onion and parsley from the cavity. Cut the breast into thin slices and serve with the sauce.
Broccoli with Panko (pareve)
Makes 4 servings
Panko are flaky Japanese bread crumbs. They are lighter and crunchier than ordinary bread crumbs, and when they are toasted they transform an ordinary vegetable into something quite special.
1 small bunch broccoli, about 3 stalks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko
Freshly ground black pepper
Separate the broccoli into florets and set the stems aside for another use. Steam the florets until they are bright green but still crisp to the bite.
Heat the oil in a wok. Add the garlic and saute over low heat for a few seconds. Add the panko and stir until golden. Add the broccoli and combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Apricot Souffle (pareve)
Makes 8 servings
Souffles have a reputation for being difficult to make at the last minute. I think this recipe represents something of a breakthrough. You can prepare part of the dessert well in advance, and another part half an hour before baking. And it’s well worth the effort, as this is a heavenly dish – light, not too sweet, and very special.
1/4 pound dried California apricots (see note)
1 1/4 cups cold water
7 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine, for greasing the ramekins
3 large egg whites (see note)
Boiling water, as needed
Place the apricots and water in a medium enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until the apricots are soft. Cool a bit.
Puree the mixture in a blender until very smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and blend. Pour the mixture into a container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (You can also do this the day before you will be baking the souffles.)
Grease eight 1/2-cup ramekins with the margarine and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of the sugar (see note). Invert the ramekins and tap to remove the excess sugar. Place them in a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the egg whites in a bowl of an electric-stand mixer. Using the balloon whisk attachment, beat at high speed until foamy, gradually add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. Continue beating until the egg whites form stiff, shiny peaks.
With a rubber spatula, fold half of the whites into the apricot puree. Reverse the process, pouring the apricot puree into the bowl with the egg whites. Gently fold the two mixtures together, making a motion like a figure 8 with the spatula, until most of the whites have disappeared. Take care not to overblend.
Spoon the batter into the prepared ramekins. If you are not baking the souffles immediately, they will keep for half an hour in the refrigerator.
When ready to bake, pour enough boiling water into the baking pan to reach one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the souffles on the middle shelf of the oven for 15 minutes.
If you are not serving them right away, you can leave them in the turned-off oven for about 10 minutes.
Notes: I always use California apricots when I make this dish because they are less sweet than other varieties. It easier to separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator, when they are cold. Make sure the whites have come to room temperature before beating. You can also bake the souffle in a 1-quart souffle dish. Grease the dish, sprinkle it with sugar, and place in a baking pan. After filling it with the batter and pouring the boiling water as described above, bake for 22 minutes.