Market Value

With Rosh Hashanah falling earlier than usual, a chef offers holiday dishes built around late-summer produce

By Melissa Petitto|August 31, 2010 7:00 AM

There is a joke about the Jewish calendar that goes something like this, “While sitting in synagogue, one man turns to his friend and says, ‘When is Hanukkah this year?’ The other man smiles slyly and replies, ‘Same as always: the 25th of Kislev.’ ” It’s a joke, but it makes an important point: The date of Jewish holidays does not change from year to year. Holidays are celebrated on the same day of the Jewish calendar every year, but the Jewish year is not the same length as a solar year on the civil calendar used by most of the western world, so the date shifts on the civil calendar. This year, Rosh Hashanah, which typically falls a little later in the year, begins in early September, when summer fruits and vegetables are still overflowing. So, why not lighten up the traditional menu to showcase all that the market still has to offer? Here are some recipes from chef Melissa Petitto.

beet carpaccio

Beet Carpaccio With Wild Arugula, Goat Cheese, and Orange Vinaigrette

1 pound large loose beets, golden, red and/or candy striped
4 cups wild arugula
¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
1 orange, segmented and juiced, separated
1 tablespoon good quality local honey
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. De-stem and scrub beets. Wrap in foil and place on a sheet tray. Bake for 50 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

2. After beets have cooled, peel all beets. On a mandoline or slicer, slice beets very thinly. This may be done with a knife, but will take a little longer. Keep all different color beets separate so that the color does not bleed.

3. Arrange beets in concentric circles in any pattern you wish on a serving platter.

4. To make the dressing, combine the orange juice (1/3 cup) and honey, whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

5. Right before serving, toss arugula in the reserved dressing and place in the center of arranged beets. Top with crumbled goat cheese and orange segments. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings


Honey Glazed Striped Bass With Fresh Herb, Cucumber, and Pomegranate Salad

4 4-ounce pieces fillets of striped bass, skin on
4 teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup cucumber, julienned
¼ cup chopped chives
¼ cup basil leaves
¼ cup chervil leaves
¼ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, chives, basil, chervil, parsley, and pomegranate seeds. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. On a baking sheet lined with foil, season fish fillets with salt and pepper.

3. In a large non-stick or anodized pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Swirl the oil to coat the entire pan. Add the fillets skin side down and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Do not move the fillets around, you want a caramelized crust on the bottom. After 2 minutes, drizzle the fish with honey.

4. Flip the fillets and cook an additional 3 minutes or until golden brown and caramelized. Transfer fillets back to the baking sheet.

5. Bake the fillets for 5 minutes or until cooked throughout. This will differ depending on thickness of fish fillets.

6. Drizzle the herb salad with olive oil and toss.

7. To serve, transfer the bass to a serving platter and top with the herb salad.

Yield: 4 servings


Pomegranate Molasses, Cinnamon, and Chive Pan-Seared Lamb Chops

8 lamb loin chops, 1.5 to 2 inches in thickness
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil, set aside.

1. In a large bowl, combine pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, salt, and pepper to form a paste. Rub paste on each lamb hop and allow to marinate for up to 2 hours.

2. In a large non-stick sauté pan or grill pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, but not smoking, add 4 lamb chops and sear for 2 minutes on each side or until a crust forms. The pomegranate molasses has a high sugar content, so be careful not to overcook the chops at this point or the crust will easily turn into a burnt one. After searing the chops on the second side, transfer seared chops to foil lined baking sheet. Wipe sauté or grill pan clean with a paper towel and repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 4 lamb chops. This step may be done ahead of time.

3. Once chops are seared, transfer baking sheet to preheated oven. Depending on the thickness of lamb and the desired degree of doneness, cooking time will differ. For rare, an internal temperature of 120 degrees and approximately 5 minutes cooking time. For medium rare, an internal temperature of 130 degrees and approximately 7 minutes cooking time. For medium, an internal temperature of 140 degrees and 9 minutes cooking time.

4. Once lamb chops are cooked to desired doneness, transfer lamb to a platter and garnish with chives and pomegranate seeds and serve!

Yield: 4 servings

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