Worth Its Salt

You’ve brought home a beautiful roast but have no idea what to do with it. All year long you might just slather it in barbecue sauce or other prepared ingredients, but if you do not use many purchased products on Pesach it takes a bit more creativity. We like to say: “Use what you can — to its fullest potential.” Salt, pepper, onions, garlic (optional), wine and sugar can help bring out amazing flavor when you use them in the right combination.

Salt Crust Rib Roast

Cracking the salt open makes a dramatic presentation — you might even want to serve it at the table!

  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup horseradish, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 second cut brisket or rib roast, about 3 pounds
  • 3 pounds kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups water

Combine oil, onion, garlic, horseradish, and pepper in a heavy plastic bag; mix well. Add roast; coat well with marinade. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9”x13” roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Combine kosher salt and water to form a thick paste. Pat 1 cup of the salt paste into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle in the center of the pan.

Pat roast dry with paper towels. Place roast on salt layer; gently pack remaining salt paste all around meat to seal well. Bake for 2 hours. The crust may crack slightly. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Crack salt crust open, remove and discard.

Slice and serve immediately.

Veal Roast

Veal meat is more delicate than beef. Be sure not to overcook it or the slices will fall apart

  • 1 4-5 lb. veal neck roast, tied
  • 2-3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 large onions
  • 6-7 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups semi dry white wine
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rub the oil over the entire roast.

Slice the onions and garlic. Tuck as many slices as you can under the net all over the roast. Place roast in a 9”x13” pan. Add any onions and garlic that did not fit under the net.

Pour the wine over the veal; season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes for each pound of meat. When it’s done, remove from oven and cool completely.

Remove the net and discard all the onions and garlic. Slice veal and serve. If you freeze it, allow it to come back to room temperature before reheating at 350 for 30 minutes.

Delmonico or Square Cut Roast

This more expensive cut benefits from high-heat roasting rather than braising

  • 4-5 sweet Vidalia onions
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3-4 lb. square cut or Delmonico roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Slice onions in rings. Heat oil in a large oven-proof pan, like cast iron. Sauté the onions until golden, adding sugar to increase their natural sweetness.

Once the onions are caramelized, remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the pan back on the heat. Rub salt and pepper generously over the roast and sear it, top and bottom, until it has a nice crust.

Place the reserved onions on top of the roast and put the pan into a 400 degree oven. Roast, uncovered, for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the caramelized onions.

You can also freeze it sliced. Bring back to room temperature and reheat 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to peppermill@hamodia.com. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.