Simple Art of Cooking: Egg Recipes for Passover and Easter

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The Jewish holiday of Passover begins at sundown on Monday, April 14, and continues for eight days. Palm Sunday begins Easter Week on April 13, continuing to Easter Sunday, on April 20. Unique traditions abound for each holiday, yet strong commonality exists with the abundant use of eggs.

The symbolism associated with eggs is related to the increase of the sun’s strength and its effect on the Earth’s fertility.

Ashkenazi Jews include roasted eggs while the Sephardic Jews serve huevos haminados; eggs that simmer for many hours until they become creamy and rich, cloaked in a beautiful tie-dye brownish color. The eggs are served in the initial course of the Passover Seder when the story commemorating the deliverance from slavery is told, as the participants dine on the symbolic foods of the holiday.

Easter will be celebrated with family and friends attending services at their respective churches before convening at home with a celebration of food.Asparagus, Neapolitan style, are little individual frittatas of asparagus spears held together in a batter of beaten egg, seasonings and Parmesan cheese—a timely brunch or side dish for the holiday.

Huevos haminados are eggs that cook very slowly for many hours.This unique Sephardic dish is one of the most ancient dishes of the

An egg for each guest at the Passover Seder

Red or brown onionskins, or both

Square of double layer of cheesecloth

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place room temperature eggs in a deep, 5- to 6- quart pot with a tight-fitting lid and fill the pot with water almost to the top. Place the onionskins over the surface of the water, cover with the square of cheesecloth then cover the pot. Adjust heat to the barest simmer your range can offer. Cover tightly and simmer for 6 to 7 hours, checking the water level occasionally.

2. Discard onion skins; you can rinse and reuse the cheesecloth. Remove the eggs carefully with a slotted spoon when done and serve warm or at room temperature sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Note: Even with the lengthy cooking time, the eggs are tender and as tasty as a poached unlaid egg from freshly killed poultry. This was a treat that my mother saved for me. As one of five kids, perhaps this was the epiphany that led me to a career in food.

This delectable preparation adorns the holiday spring table.

Yields 10 frittata spears (one grouping per serving)

1 1/3 pounds fresh asparagus or 30 even-sized spears
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing

1. Snap off the woody ends of asparagus where they bend naturally. With the tip of a paring knife, trim away the triangular scales along the spear, leaving the tender scales at the head. Rinse clean.

2. Place asparagus in a large skillet with water to barely cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add a sprinkle of salt, adjust heat to a brisk simmer and cook until tender but still firm for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Drain and refresh under cool running water to stop the cooking. Dry well with a clean kitchen towel and set aside.

3. Prepare the batter: In a mixing bowl beat eggs then add parsley, seasonings, lemon juice and cheese. Stir to mix until thoroughly incorporated.

4. Warm 2 tablespoons oil in a 10- or 12-inch non-stick skillet and when hot arrange three asparagus spears, facing in the same direction, about ¼ inch apart. With a teaspoon pour a small amount of batter on either side of the center spear and alongside the outside spears. The batter will not run beyond the top or bottom of the spears. (If your pan is large enough you should be able to cook two of these arrangements at one time.) Cook for two minutes, turning carefully with a spatula to cook the other side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined platter to absorb excess oil. Continue arranging spears in the hot oil and spooning in the batter until all are done. Add a little more oil as needed, but be sure the oil is hot before cooking the frittatas. Can be prepared ahead and served at room temperature.

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