Dinners at my grandmother’s house always involved parsley, usually to garnish a dish and rarely consumed. We weren’t supposed to eat the garnish!
But for our Passover gatherings, parsley had elevated status as one of six symbolic foods on the seder plate. Parsley represented Karpas; a bitter herb dipped into a small bowl of salted water to symbolize the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. The parsley also represents promise and renewal.
The five other foods and their meanings include Maror or Charozet, bitter herbs such as romaine, arugula, endive, or more parsley, to represent the bitterness of slavery; Charoset, a mixture of grated apples and nuts, cinnamon and sweet wine to represent the brick and mortar used by the slaves to build homes; Beitzah, a hard-boiled egg representing the circle of life; and Zeroa, a roasted shank bone to represent the sacrificial lamb.
I remember our Passover dinners heavy on protein and carbohydrates and void of fresh greens. I usually took the parsley off the seder plate and all the garnishes to nibble on. I am a salad eater, no matter the occasion, and parsley deserves more than placement as a garnish.
That’s one reason the Herb Salad with Lime, Almonds, and Currants caught my attention in Kim Kushner’s new book, The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings (Figure 1 Publishing). This salad combines the bitter and the sweet, which the Passover story means to me, and parsley takes a starring role in the recipe.
Herb Salad, Lime, Almonds, and Currants
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems finely chopped
1 bunch curly parsley or cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped
1 bunch dill, leaves and stems finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt (If keeping kosher, omit yogurt or substitute a non-dairy version if meat is served during the meal
2 Tbsp za’atar
Special tools or equipment
Salad spinner (see Tip)
Combine herbs and scallions in a medium mixing bowl.
Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and toast for 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Cool slightly.
Add almonds and currants to the bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, toss everything together.
Transfer the salad to a serving platter and make a well in the center. Dollop yogurt (or non-dairy substitute) into the well, sprinkle with za’atar, and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on top. Serve immediately.
Clean fresh, bunched herbs by using a salad spinner. Place herbs in the strainer basket and rinse under cold running water. (If you have a spray function, best to use that as it doesn’t water down the herbs.) Using your fingertips, move herbs around to ensure they’re thoroughly cleaned. Transfer the basket to the spinner and spin until the water has been extracted from the herbs. Transfer herbs onto a dry dish towel, then wrap tightly. Place the toweled herbs into a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Substitutions Feel free to use other fresh leafy herbs such as basil.
About the author: Kim Kushner is the best-selling cookbook author of I Heart Kosher, The New Kosher, and The Modern Menu. Raised in Montreal, Canada, Kushner learned to cook at an early age from her Moroccan-born mother and spent summers with family in Israel. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, she worked as a private chef and developed recipes for various magazines, including Food and Wine and Chile Pepper. Since 2005 Kim has traveled the world to share her fresh and vibrant cooking style in popular cooking classes as part of Kim Kushner Cuisine. Follow Instagram@kimkushnercuisine
This recipe and photo are from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner. Photography by Kate Sears. Copyright © 2022 by Kim Kushner. They are excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.