Passover Appetizers

Onions are the essential ingredient for Onion Pastrami Bomb appetizer.

By the time you get around to “the meal” after the matzah and charoses and egg and gefilte fish and chopped liver and the chicken soup, seriously, who wants more food?

Well, all of us, of course. These staples are the menus of our ancestors and woe to the chef who tampers with these appetizers.

While I’d never ask anyone to give up bubbe’s secret matzah ball recipe, if you want to really wow some of your guests you might want to substitute one the following recipes.

Onion Pastrami Bomb | Meat

2 pounds ground turkey or chicken

⅔ cup matzah meal

1 egg, beaten

⅔ cup kosher for Passover almond milk

½ cup kosher for Passover barbecue sauce or apricot jam

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon garlic powder

3 to 4 small to medium sweet or yellow onions

1 pound turkey pastrami

Additional barbecue sauce or warm apricot jam for dipping

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and set it aside. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, matzah meal, egg, almond milk, ½ cup barbecue sauce, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix everything together with your hands and set the mixture aside. Cut the top and bottoms off the onions. Cut the onions in half, peel off the skin and separate the onions into rings (a top ring and a bottom ring). Match up the rings from the top to bottom. Using your hand, make meatballs and place them in the bottom half of the ring. Place the top half of the ring on top. Repeat until you have all the rings filled and topped. Taking 2 to 3 strips of pastrami per “bomb,” wrap them around the filled onion rings and, using a toothpick, secure the pastrami in place. Place the wrapped onion bombs on the cookie sheet and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until done. Serve with the extra barbecue sauce or warm apricot jam. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Serves 8 to 10

Avocado Onion and Hearts of Palm Tomato Bites | Pareve or Dairy

1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained, sliced into rounds

4 ripe avocados, diced

1 small red onion, sliced thin

3 stalks of celery, chopped

½ to 1 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup bibb or red leaf lettuce leaves, shredded

8 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise and scooped out.

Lettuce to garnish

Dressing:

1 teaspoon minced garlic

¼ cup chopped parsley

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon sugar

2 teaspoons dried dill

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup oil

Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together (you can also put the ingredients in a container with a tight lid and shake to combine). Set the dressing aside. In a large salad bowl, combine the hearts of palm, avocado, celery, lettuce and red onions. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Spoon the mixture into the 8 tomatoes. Use lettuce to line the individual plates or a serving platter and place the stuffed tomatoes on top. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and serve. Note: You can add ½ to 1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan or mozzarella to the mixture if you want to make this a dairy dish.

Serves 8

Roasted Stuffed Mini Peppers | Meat

1 package mini peppers

1 package kosher for Passover cocktail hot dogs

2 onions, sliced

2 tablespoons red wine

1 tablespoon sugar

1 large tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a skillet, sauté the sliced onions with the wine and sugar. Cook until soft but not mushy. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cut the peppers in half (leave the stem on), scoop out the seeds and place them on a cookie sheet. Place a cocktail hot dog in each half and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with sautéed onions. Return the peppers to the oven and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes until everything is sizzling. To serve, place the peppers on a serving platter or 2 or 3 on individual plates and top with chopped tomato and sprinkle with chopped parsley. JN

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