Passover Wine Pairings Perfected

Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo challenges three kosher chefs to craft dishes that pair well with top Israeli wines.



Gone are the days of Concord grape wine and jellied gefilte fish for Passover. Gourmet celebrations now encourage Seder planners to think outside the matzo box. That’s why WE’s Tasting Director, Lauren Buzzeo, challenged three au courant kosher chefs to craft Passover-friendly dishes that would pair perfectly with top Israeli wines. Below are Buzzeo’s must-pour picks paired with delicious dishes revamped for you and your guests.

Buzzeo’s Wine Pick: Tulip Winery 2013 White Tulip (Galilee); $25, 88 points.
Chef’s Dish: White Tuna with Beets and Horseradish appetizer

“The wine has an inherent floral and subtle spice…there is a fruity character of lychee and unctuous white peaches,” says Michael Solomonov, chef/owner of Zahav in Philadephia. “The wine's acidity is bright enough to match the fatty flavor of the tuna and the sweetness of the roasted beats, yet there is a relieving contrast to the freshly grated horseradish.”

6 ounces sashimi-grade tuna, sliced very thin
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup roasted beets, grated
3 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup labaneh
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Arrange the tuna on four plates. Drizzle all of the olive oil over the tuna and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste.

Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Divide the salad mixture and place one dollop on each piece of tuna. Serves 4.

Buzzeo’s Wine Pick: Golan Heights Winery NV Gilgal Brut (Galilee); $19, 88 points.
Chef’s Dish: Chilean Sea Bass “Scallops,” Black Truffle and Lemon entrée

“The crisp dryness of the brut cuts the richness and fattiness of the sea bass scallop,” says David Kolotkin, executive chef of The Prime Grill in New York City.

1 pound Chilean sea bass filet, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 egg
¼ cup matzo meal
Salt and pepper to taste
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon
½ ounce chopped black truffles (optional)

In a food processor with a blade attachment, process the bass until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and matzo meal and process until combined.

Using your hands, form the bass mixture into 16 1-ounce cakes, resembling a scallop. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable oil to a hot, nonstick sauté pan, and sear “scallops” on both sides until brown, approximately 1½ minutes on each side. Remove and place on a dry, clean paper towel.

Place 4–5 pieces on each plate and drizzle with lemon juice, then sprinkle with the chopped black truffles. Serves 4.

Buzzeo’s Wine Pick: Flam 2011 Reserve Syrah (Galilee); $50, 91 points.
Chef’s Dish: Roasted Duck with Raisins and Olives

“Syrah and duck are a classic fit,” says Moshe Wendel, chef and owner of Pardes, in New York City. “Syrah has the spice and acid to stand up to foods like cinnamon, thyme and olives.”

1 duck, approximately 4½ pounds
Salt to taste
1 cup shallots
1 cup garlic cloves
4 new potatoes, peeled and boiled until just tender
1 bottle Syrah, reduced to 1½ cups with 3 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
1 bag kosher peeled chestnuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 cup raisins
½ cup oil-cured olives, chopped
1 cinnamon stick

Preheat an oven to 300°F.

Pierce the skin of the duck all over with a fork, avoiding the flesh, and season it with salt. Place the duck in a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour.

Add the shallots to the roasting pan, and continue roasting for another 30 minutes. Add the garlic and potatoes, and roast for an additional 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven, place the duck and potatoes on a plate, and allow them to rest, discarding the fat and leaving the shallots and garlic in the pan.

Add the duck back to the pan, along with the remaining ingredients except for the cinnamon and roast for an additional 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, using tongs, lightly burn the cinnamon stick over an oven burner. Add it along with the potatoes to the duck and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and season the sauce to taste. Serve the duck and potatoes with pan juices. Serves 4.


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