This year, Passover begins on Monday, March 25 at sunset, and those celebrating know there is a lot of work to be done beforehand. As with any celebration (especially one that lasts a week) food plays a big part and a proper menu has to be planned. While Passover is a momentous religious event, there is still an opportunity to impress your guests with an exceptional meal. This Passover, Ray England, Chef de Cuisine from Craft LA, has shared two of his easy-to-follow recipes that will leave people talking about the food for the rest of the year. An advocate for fresh produce from local purveyors, Chef Ray England has worked in different types of restaurants from Alaska to Colorado to Oregon honing his culinary talent before coming to Los Angeles. Chef England takes great pride in what he does and it shows with every meal. Thanks to his generosity, you can enjoy two of his amazing creations in your own home. And let’s not forget the added bonus of an exquisite dessert by Pastry Chef Shannon Swindle, also of Craft LA.
Craft Beef Short Ribs
Courtesy of Ray England
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 6 short ribs with bones, cut 2 inches thick (about 4 pounds)
- 4 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 3 stalks of celery, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 bottle red wine (750ml)
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 3 cups beef stock
- In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Sear the meat side of the short ribs until a golden brown crust forms (approximately 5 minutes per side). Take the short ribs out of the skillet and place them in a large baking dish.
- In the same large skillet, add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and browned lightly (approximately 15 minutes).
- Add the wine and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Pour the wine and vegetables over the short ribs and refrigerate over night.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Drain the wine into a pot, add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Pour the hot liquid back over the short ribs. Be careful to not splash any on yourself.
- Cover the short ribs with aluminum foil and cook them in the over for 2 1/2 hours. Remove the aluminum foil and continue cooking for an additional hour. Let cool for an hour.
- Preheat the broiler. Strain the cooking liquid and remove the bones from the short ribs. Place the short ribs in a clean shallow baking dish and pour the strained cooking liquid back over them. Broil the short ribs for 45 minutes while basting them with the cooking liquid every 10 minutes. A shiny glaze will develop over the short ribs.
- Serve in a large baking dish with fresh herbs and roasted vegetables.
Salt Cod and Cauliflower with Matzoh
Courtesy of Ray England
- 1 pound skinless, boneless salt cod
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 each peppercorns
- 1 each clove
- 1 pound white cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche
- Rinse salt cod well, rubbing off any salt. Soak in 2 quarts cold water over night, or at least 8 hours.
- In a saucepan, heat 1 cup milk plus 1 cup water over medium heat. Add soaked salt cod, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, garlic and clove. Adjust to simmer. Cook until fish flakes easily, usually around 15 minutes. Remove fish and hold at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, in a different pot, cover cauliflower with half milk and water and bring to a boil. Drain cauliflower when they are soft, about 15 minutes.
- Put cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. With your fingers, flake cooked salt cod on top. With a masher, roughly blend cauliflower and fish. Drizzle in oil and mix again. Add cayenne, salt and lemon zest. Stir in 1/2 cup crème fraîche and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning — it will probably need salt and a lot of pepper.
- Reserve in fridge until cool or serve right away.
For pickled garnish
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- Pinch of chili flake
- Small cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion
- Heat vinegar, water, chili flake, sugar and salt to a boil and pour over onions and cauliflower.
- Let it cool to room temp and put in fridge until needed.
- Drizzle a little bit of extra virgin olive oil over it, pickles and parsley leaves for garnish.
- Serve with a large bowl of matzoh crackers.
Crème Fraiche Panna Cotta with Citrus and Pistachios
Courtesy of Shannon Swindle
- 280 grams heavy cream
- 65 grams granulated sugar
- 2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 gelatin leaves (available at specialty markets)
- 450 grams crème fraiche or sour cream
- citrus segments, as needed
- Shelled, toasted pistachios, as needed
- Bloom the gelatin leaves in cold water for about 15 minutes, or until softened.
- Remove from the water and squeeze dry. Set aside.
- Place the cream, vanilla bean pods and seeds, sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, and heat until steaming.
- Add the gelatin leaves and whisk to dissolve.
- Whisk the crème fraiche in a large bowl until smooth. Pour in the cream mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour into ramekins or soufflé cups.
- Refrigerate the panna cotta for at least 4 hours before serving. Top each panna cotta with several segments of tangerine, grapefruit or oranges, or a combination of citrus and a sprinkling of pistachios just before serving.
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Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.