I had forgotten how beautiful Spring is on the East Coast. Tulips and Daffodils are everywhere, poking their heads through even the most unwelcoming strips of land, and Golden Forsythia, White Dogwood, and Pink Redbud are all in full bloom. After having spent hours in the kitchen preparing for Seder, the next day was sunny and warm and we were able to eat lunch outside. I even managed to fall asleep on the grass, something I had not done in years. Weather and family aside, we had the pleasure of sharing the holidays with the offspring of our children’s contemporaries. There were three couples with babies under the age of one, the mothers women who I knew long before they were contemplating motherhood. One of the babies spent all of Yontif with us, Raviv, who everyone wanted to hold, each of us vying for his attention and affection. There was no question that this Passover was different, and Zis, just as we had hoped.
In between the cooking and eating, there were several times when something brought me back to my childhood. Today as I was walking down the streets of Williamsburg, I suddenly heard people speaking both Yiddish and Polish. And this afternoon as I sat down to eat my lunch on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I realized that I packed the very same lunch that my mother used to make me, matzoh and salami (my mother’s favorite) a Dr. Brown’s Cream soda and a Passover Rainbow Cookie ( the ones with the almond flavoring and raspberry jam separating the yellow, green, and red layers of cake covered in dark chocolate.) I thought about the fact that all my daughter wanted for lunch was my friend Judy’s Salmon, and so we prepared it last night. Maybe she was reminiscing as well. I hope that your last days of Yontif are filled with good food and the time to reminisce.
Judy’s Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce
I 2-3 lb. salmon fillet
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
1 tsp Dill (dried)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter and allow to cool. Mix with the other ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Place the salmon fillet on parchment paper. Spread about half of the sauce mixture on the salmon. Place in oven for about 20 minutes, checking the thickest part to test if done. Top of fish will be lightly browned. Serve fish either hot or at room temperature with the rest of the sauce. Serves 4-6
My mother always hummed when she cooked. Typically, the small radio on the kitchen counter was turned to the Yiddish radio station, but if not, there was always a station that played sentimental music, lots of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. I loved knowing that when I came home, music would be in the air and dinner on the stove. She didn’t like the sound of silence and I must admit, neither do I. My ritual is almost identical, with a modern twist. I walk into my kitchen and head straight for the radio, or my IPOD, and only then do I begin to cook.
I have family members in three different countries this weekend, and so here are my plans for a quiet Friday afternoon. A glass of wine, some music, and Moroccan Salmon. It’s raining outside and So Far Away is playing on the IPOD. Not too bad. Shabbat Shalom.
1 pound of salmon fillets
salt and pepper to taste
4 thin slices of lemon
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. harissa
1/4 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
2 tbs. orange juice
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a small baking dish, large enough to hold fillets in one layer. Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper, and place into the baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, harissa, and smoked paprika. Spread the mixture over the fish, then cover with the lemon and onion slices. Add drained garbanzo beans to dish. Pour the orange juice around the salmon.
Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil the fish for a few minutes to brown.