While it may not be an exclusively Kosher for Pesach cookbook, this treasure that shares the name of a well-known Manhattan restaurant has quite a few dishes well suited to the upcoming eight-day food fest. Mark Hennessey and Jose Meirelles of Le Marias team up for a great steakhouse cookbook, full of incredible recipes, practical advice, great anecdotes and the literary version of salt and pepper – bits of humor sprinkled throughout the book – making for a great read. Among the first of the upscale kosher steakhouses to make their mark on the New York City landscape, Le Marais has been winning accolades for over 20 years and is a favorite among kosher and non-kosher diners alike.
The self-titled Le Marais is filled with the little extra touches that make a restaurant meal a special event and the book opens with a selection of sauces that are served in upscale steakhouses, elevating a perfectly-done steak to even higher levels. Intriguing salads, including a charred Vidalia onion salad and another with heirloom tomatoes and watermelon, are followed by tempting dishes like parsnip apple soup and salsify, a root vegetable that I never even heard of. But as you turn pages in this book, you can’t help but hear the old Wendy’s tag line, “Where’s the beef?” Fear not, for Hennessy and Meirelles present over 90 pages’ worth of poultry, lamb, duck, veal as well as a full chapter on fish. There is a no-holds-barred introduction to the wonderful world of beef, detailing the best way to cook each of the cuts described, including the adorably named “girly cuts,” yet another example of the personality that is evident throughout this book. From the deceptively simple pan-seared rib eye steak to the rolled veal breast roast with garlic, thyme and pine nuts, Le Marais is a carnivore’s delight that will leave you hungering for a taste of Paris. Rounding out the end of the book is a gorgeous selection of desserts, and while the creme brulee may send you to the garage for your blow torch, I prefer to use that same torch to put the finishing touches on Julianna’s burnt s’mores tart, featuring a graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache and gorgeous homemade marshmallows.
270 pages long and published by Gefen, Le Marais is sure to wreck your diet, but well worth every calorie.
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Seder Plate Salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes. Cook Time: 10 minutes. Advanced 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 my version of a French Niçoise salad. I make it with lamb instead of tuna, and it contains the ritual components of the Seder plate and table. The dressing is made from 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.
For The Salad
2 pieces of lamb shoulder (about 20 ounces/600g total)
2 tsp 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
⅓ cup (40g) walnut halves, roughly chopped into ½-inch (12-mm) pieces
2 apples (Red Delicious, Fuji, or Gala), cored and cut into ¾-inch (2-cm) cubes
3 large eggs, hard-boiled and quartered