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Monday, January 17, 2022

Six Delicious Dishes for Passover

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Tom Franz’s fennel cream soup. Photo by Daniel Lailah
Rafik Jabarin, executive chef of the Tel Aviv Hilton, with his sea bass dish. Photo courtesy of Hilton Worldwide
Ori Shavit’s vegan stuffed kohlrabi. Photo: courtesy

ISRAEL21c asked six Israeli chefs to share their original recipes for the holiday. They’re so good, we think you’ll want to eat them year-round.

Looking for some fresh menu ideas for the week-long holiday of Passover?

ISRAEL21c asked six well-known Israeli chefs to share recipes for unleavened dishes so good you’ll want to eat them year-round.

The holiday begins this year on the night of April 22.

B’teavon! Hearty appetite!

TOM FRANZ: Fennel cream soup

Tom Franz, 41, winner of the third season of Israel’s MasterChef culinary TV show, is a former Catholic attorney from Germany who moved to Israel and converted to Judaism at the age of 30. Franz wrote a bestselling kosher cookbook and cohosts Flavors, a daily TV show in Israel. He offers a private gourmet catering service, cooks on TV shows in Israel and Germany, and develops recipes for a variety of clients.

Fennel Cream Soup


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 pounds fennel (set aside 2 bulbs for optional garnish), cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pastis or arak
  • 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
  • 2 heads of celery, rinsed well and diced
  • 3 liters chicken or vegetable stock, or equal amounts water and milk
  • 2-3 potatoes (optional, for a more hearty soup)
  • 1 star anise
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large pot and fry the onions just until translucent. Add the pastis or arak and leeks and continue frying. Add the diced celery and stir. Stir in the fennel pieces (and optional potato) and soften the vegetables at least 10 minutes. Add the stock and star anise and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until all the vegetables are soft (about 40 minutes). Remove the star anise.

Drain the vegetables (keeping the liquids) and place in food processor or blend with a hand blender until smooth. Strain the puree to remove hard fiber bits.

Transfer the puree to the pot, adding the liquids as needed until achieving the desired consistency (I love creamy). Reheat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Garnish bowls of soup with toasted almonds or pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil, or make a caramelized fennel garnish using the 2 fennels set aside. Slice them thinly and heat a large skillet with ¼ cup olive oil. Arrange the slices nicely in the skillet, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and a little salt, and begin to brown them over medium heat. When they are golden brown, turn and brown the other side. Set aside until serving the soup.

10 servings


Rafik Jabarin has been working in the Hilton Tel Aviv for the last 20 years and has been its executive chef for the past eight years. He has hosted many world-famous chefs, hosted Israeli food festivals abroad and was guest chef in hotels, fine dining rooms and Michelin restaurants in London, Paris, Tuscany and Spain. Jabarin likes to cook in the modern healthful Mediterranean style.

Fillet of Sea Bass Wrapped with Grilled Zucchini Shaves, Hot Red Pepper Salad and Bouillabaisse


  • 1 zucchini, shaved or cut thinly lengthwise
  • 4 fillet of sea bass, 120 grams each
  • 2 peppers grilled on an open fire, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 20 pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
  • 4 basil leaves, thinly cut
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and shaved
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • Lemon juice




  • 1 cup of arak liquor
  • 1 cup of brandy
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk of thyme
  • 1 white onion, roughly cut
  • 1 carrot, roughly cut
  • 1 fennel bulb, roughly cut
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ kg red mullet fish bones
  • 50 grams tomato paste
  • 100 ml plain soy milk (or whipped cream)


Add salt and pepper to the zucchini shaves, with a bit of olive oil. Grill on a hot grill till you have grill marks each side. Season the fish with salt and pepper, olive oil and a bit of fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Wrap the fish with the zucchini shavings.

Heat an oven to 200 C (400 F) degrees, bake the fish for 7 minutes.

In a hot pan, with some olive oil, toss the garlic shavings; add the red peppers, basil, salt and pepper, and a bit of lemon juice.

For the sauce, heat a pot, add olive oil, add the vegetables and scorch them on fire; add tomato paste and spices and keep cooking. Add the arak and brandy, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the fish stock and cook on low fire, till liquid is reduced by half. Strain the liquid. Keep cooking on low fire, till reduced to half, and sauce becomes thick. Add the soy milk.

Adjust flavor, remove from fire.

4 servings

ORI SHAVIT: Stuffed kohlrabi

Food writer, photographer, critic and chef Ori Shavit is a vegan recipe consultant for many Israeli restaurants and hotels. The English version of her website Vegans on Top offers resources about plant-based eating, including an Israeli vegan restaurant guide.

Baked Stuffed Spring Kohlrabi


  • 8 medium kohlrabis
  • Olive oil
  • Atlantic sea salt
  • ½ bunch fresh spinach or ½ package frozen spinach, chopped
  • 3-4 leaves Swiss chard, chopped
  • 3 large leaves kale, chopped
  • 1 stalk green (baby) garlic, soft parts only, chopped
  • Handful of chopped dill
  • 1 small red bell pepper, roasted or raw, diced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Rind of ½ lemon, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon pickled lemon paste, optional
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts


Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F).

Put the peeled kohlrabi in a bowl and rub on all sides with the olive oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and put into the oven about 30 minutes, until just soft. Remove and let cool slightly.

With a spoon, scoop out the middle of each kohlrabi and dice. Heat a little olive oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the green garlic and the kohlrabi dice. Add the greens and stir-fry 2-3 minutes until the leaves begin to soften.

Add dill, diced pepper, lemon juice and grated rind, pickled lemon (if using) and pine nuts. Stir fry 1-2 minutes. Season with Atlantic sea salt and pepper to taste. Fill the kohlrabi with this mixture; top with a little grated lemon peel and serve.

If preparing in advance, reheat in the oven 2-3 minutes at a high temperature.

8 servings

JOHNNY GORIC: Roasted rack of lamb

Award-winning chef Johnny Goric is executive chef at the Legacy boutique hotel in Jerusalem and head instructor at a culinary school in Ramallah. Goric, who has cooked for several kings and presidents, is a member of Chefs for Peace, a nonprofit, apolitical, Jewish-Muslim-Christian group that prepares dishes at events around the world to promote harmony in the Middle East.

Lemon-Garlic Roasted Rack of Lamb


  • 2 racks of lamb, frenched
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon French mustard (or grated horseradish, for those who do not use mustard on Passover)
  • One lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Generously season rack of lamb with salt and pepper.


In a large bag, add lamb and olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, mustard and lemon zest. Let marinate at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Heat a heavy cast iron pan on the stovetop at medium-high heat.

Remove lamb racks from marinade, pat with towels to remove excess oil and liquid (doesn’t need to be bone dry, just not dripping).

Add racks to pan and brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Move pan to oven and let roast for 15 minutes, fat side down.

Flip racks on other side, and roast an additional 10-15 minutes, until internal thermometer reaches 125 degrees for medium-rare, then remove from oven.

Let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

6 servings

Israel 21c Staff

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