As families in Encino and Tarzana gather for the Seder meal, the youngest child will ask four questions and the story of the Hebrew exodus from slavery to freedom will be read from the Haggadah.
Central to the celebration is the Seder, a word that means “order.” The ritual feast features specific elements and is presented in the same way generation after generation. And what wonderful elements they are, designed to bring family and friends together to commemorate the past and create shared memories to be passed on. Wine flows, symbolic foods are eaten and tradition is observed.
The Passover plate itself features six foods—bitter herbs, fruits and nuts, parsley dipped in salt water, a roasted lamb bone and an egg—that symbolize the holiday's dual themes of oppression and liberation. The harshness of slavery, the tears shed, the sacrifice—it's all there on the plate. Matzo, the unleavened bread packed in the haste to flee, gets its own plate of honor.
But there is also the celebration of freedom. And what would any holiday be without an abundance of the foods we long for and that give us comfort? In celebration of Passover, here are five recipes you can’t pass by.
1. Start off with a holiday staple, matzo ball soup. Dayna’s Matzo Ball Soup simmers for two hours and makes a least a dozen tender, comfort-giving matzo balls.
2. Moroccan Charosets combine dried fruits and nuts to create sweet, bite-size appetizers that make a delicious snack any time of year.
3. Ina Garten’s Herb-Roasted Lamb features garlic and rosemary, and takes just an hour and 15 minutes to prepare, not including the 20 minutes the dish will need to rest after being taken out of the oven.
4. Take advantage of what’s in season with roasted asparagus, a side dish that couldn’t be easier to get from the kitchen to the table. Just toss fresh asparagus with olive oil and kosher salt, and pop in a hot oven.
5. Save room for dessert! Wrap up the evening with a Flourless Walnut-Date Cake that features bittersweet chocolate, orange zest and honey. Yum.