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Chef Paula Shoyer’s Passover menu enlivens your seder, maintains tradition

Paula Shoyer's seder-plate salad. Credit: The New Passover Menu.
Paula Shoyer's seder-plate salad. Credit: The New Passover Menu.


Chef and best-selling author Paula Shoyer returns to JNS.orgwith recommendations that she guarantees will match the Passover culinary tradition while simultaneously enlivening your seder.

All of the recipes are courtesy of Shoyer’s book, “The New Passover Menu” (Sterling Epicure, February 2015).

Seder plate salad

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Advance prep: dressing and lamb may be made 2 days in advance

Equipment: cutting board, knives, measuring cups and spoons, small saucepan, tongs, small bowl, whisk, large serving bowl

This is Paula Shoyer’s version of a French niçoise salad with lamb instead of tuna. It contains the ritual components of the seder plate and table. The dressing is made from kosher sweet wine and maror (the bitter herb, in this case, white horseradish), creating a creamy pink dressing. This salad also makes a nice lunch or light dinner during chol hamoed, the non-Yom Tov intermediate days of Passover.

Ingredients for the salad:

2 pieces of lamb shoulder (about 20 ounces/600g total)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 large head romaine lettuce, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 cup (40g) loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1/3 cup (40g) walnut halves, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces

2 apples (Red Delicious, Fuji, or Gala), cored and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes

3 large eggs, hard-boiled and quartered

Ingredients for the dressing:

1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise

4 teaspoons jarred white horseradish

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons sweet kosher wine

Salt and black pepper


1. Preheat oven to broil or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.

2. To make the lamb: Rub the lamb shoulder pieces with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Broil or grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare, or until desired doneness. Let cool for 5 minutes and, if serving immediately, slice into thin, 2-inch-long (5-cm) pieces. If making in advance, wait to slice the lamb until after reheating. The lamb may be roasted 2 days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.

3. To make the salad dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, white horseradish, sugar, and wine until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. The dressing may be made 2 days in advance; cover and store in the fridge.

4. To assemble the salad: Place the romaine pieces in a large bowl. Add the celery and parsley and toss to combine. Sprinkle the walnuts and apples on top and arrange the egg quarters around the perimeter of the bowl. Scatter the lamb pieces on top. To serve, scoop some of everything onto each plate and drizzle with the dressing.

Seared tuna with olives and capers

Servings: 4–6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 6–8 minutes

Advance prep: may be made 1 day in advance

Equipment: measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, knives, large frying pan, silicone spatula

Paula’s family consumes a lot of sushi, so everyone is thrilled when she has seared tuna on the menu at her house. It is the quickest main dish to prepare if you, like her children, enjoy fresh tuna pretty raw; it cooks in minutes. The olive and caper relish has strong flavors, so she often serves it on the side. Several companies certify capers for Passover, but if you cannot find them, substitute green olives.


4 tuna steaks (6 ounces/170g each)

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Black pepper

3 tablespoons (45ml) extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped red onion, cut into

1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces

4 cloves garlic, chopped into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces

3 tablespoons capers, drained, or green olives, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) pieces

1/3 cup (45g) green or black olives (or a combination), cut into long slivers

1/2 teaspoon sugar


1. Sprinkle both sides of the tuna steaks with the basil, thyme, and pepper to taste. Heat a large frying pan over high heat (do not add any oil). When the pan is hot, add the tuna steaks and cook for 1 to 1.5 minutes on each side, just long enough to sear the outside. Leave the center raw, unless you prefer tuna cooked all the way through.

2. Remove the tuna steaks to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the oil. Add the red onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add the capers, olives, sugar, and pepper to taste, and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

3. Place the tuna steaks on a cutting board and slice into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick (8- to 12-mm) slices.Place the slices on a platter and sprinkle the caper and olive mixture on top, or serve it alongside in a small bowl.

Linzer tart (gluten-free) 

Servings: 8-12

Prep Time: 15 minutes; chill dough 45 minutes; 10 minutes to chill lattice strips

Bake Time: 10–15 minutes for crust, 35–40 minutes for tart

Advance Prep: may be made 4 days in advance and stored covered at room temperature

Equipment: measuring cups and spoons, large bowl, electric mixer, 8-inch (20-cm) round tart pan (with or without a removable bottom) or pie pan, medium bowl, 2 cookie sheets, silicone spatula, rolling pin, knife or pastry wheel, long knife or metal spatula, pastry brush or hands to glaze top of dough with egg white

You can make this dessert with any flavor jam you like. Paula suggests spreading red jam on half the crust and apricot jam on the other half. She uses a pastry cutter, a small fluted wheel on a handle, to cut the dough strips to achieve a ridged look, but you can use a knife instead. The crust requires 3 cups of three different kinds of groundnuts; if you do not have enough of one type, you can substitute another.


1/2 cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine

1 1/2 cups (180g) ground almonds

1 cup (120g) ground walnuts

1/2 cup (55g) ground hazelnuts (with or without skins)

1/2 cup (80g) potato starch

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sprinkling on top

1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 cup (240ml) raspberry, apricot, or your favorite jam

1 large egg white, beaten, for glazing


To make the crust:

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed beat the margarine until soft, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula once or twice.

2. Add the ground almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts along with the potato starch and granulated sugar and mix. Separate a little more than half the dough and put it into your tart or pie pan. Leave the remaining dough in the bowl.

3. Use your hands to press the dough into the bottom of the pan to cover it and create a 1/3-inch-thick (8-mm) crust on the sides. It’s easiest to press the dough with your fingers into the sides and corners of the pan first and then press the palm of your hand into the bottom of the pan to help cover it with dough. Take a little extra dough from the bowl if needed to cover the bottom. Place the pan in the freezer.

4. Add the confectioners’ sugar to the smaller piece of dough in the bowl and mix it in; the easiest way is to use your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten it. Do not worry if the dough is crumbly. Wrap the dough in plastic and place it in the freezer for 45 minutes.

To make the tart:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. Remove the tart pan from the freezer and place it on top of a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the crust just starts to color.

3. Remove the pan from the oven, slide the parchment and tart pan off the cookie sheet, and let it cool for five minutes, or until the dough in the freezer is ready to be rolled out.

4. Sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with some confectioners’ sugar. Place the dough on top of the paper, sprinkle with more sugar, and cover it with another piece of parchment paper. With a rolling pin, roll the parchment-covered dough into a 1/3-inch-thick (8-mm) rectangle. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut the dough into eight 1-inch (2.5-cm) strips. Slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and freeze the strips for 10 minutes.

5. Use silicone spatula to spread the jam evenly over the bottom of the crust.

6. Remove the dough strips from the freezer and use a long metal spatula or large knife to lift and place the strips across the top of the jam-filled crust to create a lattice. Do not try to bend the strips back to make a perfect over-and-under lattice. Instead, place half the strips in one direction, an inch apart, and then lay the others across them in the other direction. Trim the ends of the dough and press them into the border of the bottom crust. Brush the strips with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1.5 teaspoons granulated sugar.

7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the jam is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Paula Shoyer, a busy mother of four, believes that a healthy kosher diet can include desserts…if they are homemade. A former attorney, she graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris, and now teaches French and Jewish baking classes across the country and around the world. Paula is the author of the best-selling “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy,” “The Holiday Kosher Baker,” and “The New Passover Menu.” She is a contributing editor to several kosher websites such as and, and magazines such as “Joy of Kosher,” “Whisk,” and “Hadassah.” She also writes for the Washington Post. She lives in Chevy Chase, Md. To learn more about Paula and her ongoing book tour, visit her website at

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