Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is a time when Jews are required to fast for 24 hours. At the end of this period, family and friends gather for the traditional break-the-fast meal.
This year at the conclusion of services our family and friends will arrive at our home at various times, since they are coming from synagogues that stretch from San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles.
The transition from fasting to feasting should be a gradual one. Light, simple food is best. These two quick recipes are perfect for the holiday. Just add a few side dishes to complete the menu.
The first recipe is a dish I served a recent dinner, individual mini-potato salads topped with smoked salmon and garnished with a zesty mustard-dill sauce. Everyone enjoyed them so much, I decided to include them in our break-the-fast menu. The secret to this dish is that the potatoes are boiled for only eight minutes and they can be made in advance.
The second smoked salmon dish was inspired by a Swedish friend, Kerstin Marsh, a great cook, and she often serves this family specialty as a first course with sliced fresh cucumbers.
These two delicious dishes can be prepared ahead of time and chilled until ready to serve. It is comfort to return home from the synagogue and have the perfect dish ready for your guests.
Complete the break-the-fast meal with a fresh fruit salad and serve it with the traditional honey cake, my family's favorite holiday dessert.
Smoked Salmon with Mini-Potato Salads
2 medium white rose potatoes, 1/2-inch
dice (1 pound)
1 small carrots, diced
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/2 cup uncooked corn kernels
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices smoked salmon (lox)
Mustard-Dill Sauce (recipe follows)
6 sprigs fresh dill
Rinse diced potatoes in cold running water. Bring a large pot of salt water to a rolling boil, drop in diced potatoes and boil for eight to 10 minutes.
Drain into a colander and transfer to a shallow dish to cool. Add carrots, fennel, red bell pepper, corn kernels and enough mayonnaise to moisten, and salt and pepper to taste.
Place a 3-inch ring mold on serving plate and spoon in salad mixture. Trim salmon slices to fit a 3-inch mold. Arrange a slice of smoked salmon on top of salad. Repeat with remaining five serving plates.
Prepare the mustard-dill sauce and spoon around each serving. Garnish with sprigs of fresh dill.
This sauce can be prepared several days ahead, Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Try replacing the dill with basil leaves, cilantro, water cress, parsley or sorrel.
3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons fresh chopped (or snipped) dill
In a small, deep bowl, combine the mustard, powdered mustard, sugar and vinegar and blend well. With a wire whisk, slowly beat in the oil until it forms a thick mayonnaise. Stir in the chopped dill. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes about 1 cup.
Kerstin's Swedish Potato and Gravlax Casserole
Unsalted butter for the baking dish
Eight (1 3/4 pounds) white or red
new potatoes, steamed, peeled,
and thinly sliced
8 large slices gravlax or smoked salmon
1/2 small yellow onion,
peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter,
cut into pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with butter. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes on the bottom. Arrange the slices of gravlax on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with the onion and dill. Repeat with a top layer of the remaining sliced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, beat the cream and egg and pour over the potato mixture.
Sprinkle the bread crumbs and pieces of butter over the potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve hot or cold.
Makes 6 servings
Note: Whole new unpeeled potatoes, steamed, take about 20 minutes to cook, depending on the size of the potatoes. Peeled and sliced potatoes, boiled, take only five minutes.