School is back in session, summer vacations are now just pleasant memories, and the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are just around the corner—the former begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 16, the latter at sundown on Tuesday, Sept. 25.
Fall is also a time of new beginnings in the restaurant scene, and indeed there is an exciting kosher newcomer in New York, called Jezebel, set in an 1887 townhouse in the downtown SoHo neighborhood. With a menu created by Bradford Thompson (formerly of the late Grand Award-winning Mary Elaine's, in Scottsdale, Ariz.) and deftly executed by chef Joel Somerstein, Jezebel aims to redefine kosher dining and nightlife in New York. The decor is full of witty touches, such as a re-imagined "American Gothic" painting featuring comedian Larry David.
Nick Mautone (a veteran of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group) is heading up the all-kosher beverage program, starting with about 90 kosher wines on the list, which includes selections from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne; Cabernets from Israel, Washington, Chile and Napa; Tuscan and Spanish reds, and whites from Napa, Alsace, New Zealand and Australia. Also featured are 10 kosher beers and a short list of cocktails that demonstrate some of the same wit on display in the artwork: a combination of citrus-infused vodka, orange liqueur, grapes and spiced lavender syrup is called the "Kosha Nostra." Mautone and Menachem Senderowicz, who co-owns Jezebel with partner Henry Stimler, have plans to double the size of the wine list in the coming year.
The menu includes items like roasted bone marrow, beef tartare, red snapper crudo and the Chicken "Chop" Milanese, a substantial chicken breast preparation for which the recipe is included below. Thompson has also shared the recipe for a rich and satisfying Chocolate Caramel Tart made, as per kosher restrictions, without any dairy products. Both are easy and elegant enough to serve for a Rosh Hashana dinner, or after breaking the Yom Kippur fast. To round it out, we've also provided a list of 12 recently rated kosher wines, both reds and whites, for your High Holidays entertaining.
For the stuffing mixture:
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 cup diced fennel bulb
• 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
• 1/4 cup golden raisins
• 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
• 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
• Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the fennel and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent but not browned. Add the raisins, capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
For the spinach coulis:
• 1 pound spinach, rinsed and drained, stems removed and discarded
• 6 cloves garlic, peeled
• 1/2 cup coconut milk
• Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and set up an ice bath nearby. Blanch the spinach and garlic cloves in the water for 1 minute, then drain and transfer them to the ice bath to cool. Once cooled, drain the vegetables, pressing the excess water from the spinach, and transfer to a blender or food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add the coconut milk and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
For the breading:
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Combine the breadcrumbs and toasted pine nuts in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse to form fine crumbs, then set aside.
For the garnish:
• 1/2 small fennel bulb, cored and very thinly sliced on mandoline (or with food processor fitted with slicing attachment)
• 1/2 small red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced on mandoline (or with food processor fitted with slicing attachment)
• 1/4 cup parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• Salt and pepper to taste
In a non-reactive bowl, combine the fennel, onion and parsley and toss gently with the oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
For the chicken:
• 4 chicken breasts, cleaned, with wing bone included
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. Slice a small pocket into in the center of each chicken breast, and stuff it with 2 tablespoons of the stuffing mixture per breast. Dip each stuffed breast into the beaten eggs, then roll each in the breading mixture. Set aside until ready.
3. In a large, oven-proof sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken breasts (you may have to work in batches, depending on the size of your pan) and cook for 2 minutes per side or until evenly browned. Transfer the pan to the oven and let chicken finish cooking, for 10 to 12 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 160° F.
4. While the chicken cooks, gently heat the spinach coulis in a small pan until it just bubbles.
5. To serve, ladle 1/4 cup of spinach sauce onto each warmed dinner plate. Top sauce with one cooked breast per plate. Garnish with the fennel and onion salad and serve immediately. Serves 4.
For the dough:
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 cup soy vegan butter (available at health food stores)
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
• Non-stick spray for baking
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt and sugar and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15 seconds. With the motor running, add 1/4 cup of water through the feed tube in a slow and steady stream until the dough holds together when pinched. Add the remaining 1/4 cup water if necessary, but do not process for more than 30 seconds.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 10-inch tart pan with nonstick spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough and transfer to the pan. Bake the shell for 15 minutes. Tart shells can be made in advance and chilled until you're ready to assemble.
For the caramel:
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons water
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 2 tablespoons arrowroot
• 2 tablespoons soy vegan butter
In a sauté pan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium heat until amber in color. Carefully add the coconut milk, butter and arrowroot, whisking constantly. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, transfer to a stainless-steel bowl and allow to cool.
For the ganache:
• 1/2 pound 72 percent cacao dark chocolate
• 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
• 2 tablespoons corn syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (available at health food and specialty baking stores and online retailers)
1. If the chocolate is in bar form, cut or break it into large chunks. Place the chocolate in a medium-size bowl.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk and corn syrup and cook over medium heat until simmering. Whisk in the xanthan gum and heat for another two minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and pour the hot mixture over the chocolate to melt it, stirring if necessary. Let cool to room temperature.
To assemble the tart: Once all components are cool, spread the caramel sauce in an even layer to cover the bottom of the baked and cooled tart shell, then fill with the chocolate ganache, using a pastry bag, to the rim of the tart shell. Refrigerate until set. Slice and serve on chilled plates. Serves 6 to 8.
RECOMMENDED KOSHER WINES
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More kosher wines rated within the past year can be found in our Wine Ratings Search; choose "search by wines, wineries, wine regions and tasting notes and type "kosher". Use Advanced Search to filter by tasting date or other options.
For all WineSpectator.com visitors: