Charoset is a sweet, sometimes alcoholic spread or chutney served on Passover. As a ritual food it’s spread on the cracker-like bread substitute called matzo, and meant to symbolize the mortar between the bricks of Egyptian building projects in the story of Exodus. As an Egyptologist I find this topic problematic, but let’s stick to the food: Ashkenazi Jews–those of European ancestry–usually make charoset with chopped apples, walnuts, wine, and raisins, while Sephardic Jews–who trace their ancestry to north Africa, Spain, and the Middle East–make theirs with dates, figs, or apricots, and lots of spices. I much prefer a date base for my charoset, and I recently decided that this spread is far too delicious to make only once a year. I’ve been eating it on toast, and sometimes with a spoon. My recipe adds a New England twist–maple syrup–and the balancing tang of salted almonds.
Oh, my friends. My friends! (Especially you, Jenna and Ally!) I’ve been sitting on this recipe long enough. Some of you have been nagging me to post it for more than a year. Behold the two-step teriyaki: Step 1, marinate. Step 2, bake. ‘Tis all. I’ve done this with salmon (which I maintain is the absolute best vehicle for this homemade sauce), but you can do it with tofu, chicken, or presumably anything else. I think I originally got the idea for this from my friend Gill, who got it from her dad. Thanks, Gill and Gill’s dad!
I know it’s been a while… I’m currently on fieldwork and it’s hard to cook in the field, so I’ll leave you with this quick lunch recipe I make all the time. It’s foolproof!
New to East Asian cooking? Miso is a great way to get started! This simple glaze has only two ingredients. Here I’ve put it on salmon and baked the fish, but you can put it on almost anything and fry, dip, or simmer.