We loved the fresh look The Modern Menu brings to a centuries-old topic. These are contemporary kosher meals that can fit in anywhere, with a lighter, healthier outlook.
Chapters are divided into one-word descriptions, like Nourishing, Piquant, Gutsy. Kim’s philosophy is encouraging, even to beginning cooks. “A thoughtfully prepared dish is far more interesting than a perfectly prepared one. In fact, I never approach any dish with the idea that it will be perfect.” HOBNOB agrees with this sentiment one-hundred percent, and we were delighted to find recipes here that impress, but are not at all difficult to take on.
In keeping with this philosophy, the photography is loosely styled, with closeups of the stars: the food itself—photographer Andrew Zuckerman turns ingredients and dishes into playful works of art.
Recipe highlights: You’ll never buy hummus again, after seeing how easy the 5-Minute Hummus recipe is, found in the Indulgent chapter. We’ve included 2 recipes here, one for Salmon en Croute, from the Clever chapter, which gives the impressions you’ve been cooking all day, but is simply puff pastry wrapped around salmon with hints of mushrooms and spinach. The second recipe is all about freshness: Kohlrabi and Cabbage Salad tossed in a sweet-tart dressing from the Vibrant chapter.
Salmon en Croute
This is the ultimate company dish, not only because it is so delicious but because the presentation will give the impression that you spent hours and hours cooking the meal. A side of salmon, along with miso-flavored mushrooms and spinach, is enclosed in a golden cloak of puff pastry.
Serves 8 to 10
Preheat the oven to 400°F… Make the SALMON
1 sheet puff pastry (1/2 package 17-ounce)
1 TB olive oil
1 package frozen chopped spinach (10-ounce), thawed and squeezed of liquid
2 CUPS mixed mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, oyster, or portobello), sliced
3 TB mirin
2 TB white miso
1 TB brown sugar
1 side salmon, about 1.5 pounds, skin removed
1 egg, beaten
On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the puff pastry 1 to 2 inches longer than the length and more than twice the width of the salmon fillet. Slide the pastry and paper onto a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the spinach and mushrooms and quickly sauté until the mushrooms are a little browned and the spinach has shrunk a bit in size. Whisk together the mirin, miso, and brown sugar and stir into the spinach and mushrooms. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Place the fish fillet on the dough rectangle, positioning it 3 inches in from one edge. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the fish. Fold the dough over the fish (like a book) and tuck the top edges under the bottom edges, using your fingertips to seal the dough and making sure the seam is on the underside of the packet. Use a sharp knife to make about 10 slits in the top of the pastry. Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 40 minutes. To check the doneness, carefully turn the pastry over and cut a slit into the underside to peek in and check that the fish is done. If it isn’t, return to the oven for a few minutes.
Make the Miso Sauce
3 TB mirin
3 TB white miso
3 TB brown sugar
Whisk together the mirin, miso, and brown sugar until well blended. Keep at room temperature or warm on the stovetop before serving.
Cut the salmon crosswise into 8 to 10 slices, drizzle each with the miso sauce, and serve.
Kohlrabi and Cabbage Salad with Maple Lemon Dressing
Serves 6 to 8
Yes, I grew up eating kohlrabi, also known as a German turnip. It tastes like a mild version of broccoli and has the texture of an apple. I suppose it was part of my childhood diet because it is available year-round— at the grocery store, even. While my mother prepared it simply—sliced and drizzled with lemon juice—I prefer a slightly more interesting take, paired with cabbage and tossed in a delicious sweet-tart dressing. (see photo of recipe at the top of this post)
Prepare the salad
4 bulbs kohlrabi
3 CUPS shredded green cabbage
1/3 CUP dried cherries
1/4 CUP salted sunflower seeds, roasted
1/4 CUP fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Using a sharp knife, remove the long stems and greens from the kohlrabi. Using a peeler, trim away the thick green skin until you reach the light green to white part that is free of tough fibers. Shred on the medium holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredder disk.
Combine the kohlrabi, cabbage, cherries, sunflower seeds, and dill in a large serving bowl.
Make the dressing
1/4 CUP EV olive oil
3 TB pure maple syrup
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 2 lemons
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the olive oil, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Shake to thoroughly combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat well. Let sit for about 20 minutes before serving.
The Modern Menu by Kim Kushner. Reprinted with permission.