“It’s not kosher” is a phrase you hear when it usually pertains to not being on the “up and up”. Food wise “kosher” is a both a Jewish dietary law as well as one that rests on how you practice the religion. The word, “kosher” derives from the Hebrew word, “kasher”, meaning “pure” or “proper”. Simply being blessed by a Rabbi does not make food “kosher”.
Fairway Market has a kosher catering menu. What does it all mean? I was able to sample and speak with Fairway’s expert Rebecca Martin as we begin with the facilities, which have to be set up so that there are no other foods around to contaminate. Rabbis are present to oversee.
Fish must have scales and fins. That not only leaves out all shellfish, but one such as catfish. Think of it as fish that are not “bottom feeders”. The sushi menu is limited to salmon, tuna and yellowtail, keeping in mind that not all fish considered to be “kosher” should be eaten raw, such as tilapia, an entrée selection. Let’s examine a few maki rolls. Godzilla: tuna, yellow tail, salmon, kani, tempura style. American Dream: yellow tail, tuna, salmon, spicy tuna, masago, scallion, sweet sauce, spicy sauce. You get extra sauces, such as spicy mayo and soy sauce. Of course it comes with pickled ginger and wasabi.
Animals that chew the cud and have cloven hooves are okay. So, for the sake of the menu, we are looking at beef with cows that have gone through a ritual slaughter. No cuts of beef from the hind quarter. This excludes parts that are seen as premium cuts of beef, such as the filet mignon and the porterhouse. This also excludes all flank, sirloin, T-bone and round cuts. Does it limit the taste? It’s not the cut of beef but how you prepare and cook it.
Beef facon, for instance. Think of it as bacon using beef instead of pork. Certainly a lot leaner and is a pretty good substitute. Beef sausage can be done in many styles depending upon the herbs and spices being used with edible casings. A company called Jack’s manufactures both the facon and sausage. Fairway spent time researching to find the best.
I grew up on eating tongue...beef tongue and from a kosher deli. Fairway cooks up their own and what you get is lean. Chopped Chicken Liver. Let’s first get to the chicken livers coming from a kosher chicken. Not only is the chicken slaughtered so that the blood is drained, if the liver has any green on it…goodbye chicken. Chicken livers, onions, hard boiled eggs, salt and schmaltz (chicken
Back to the beef as in Beef Spare Ribs. They are like the size of “country ribs” when you buy the pork ilk. It is all about the sauce regarding taste. The ribs are totally cooked tender when they arrive. You just need to heat them up, like the rest of the foods served hot.
Here is a great specialty…Crispy Orange Beef. This item arrives in a cut out orange. The sliced beef is coated and fried. Sesame seeds sit atop. An orange sauce is prepared with some extra sauce packed. It’s delicious. What more could you want?
Two particular items made use of mushrooms. One was Portobello Fries. Basically, cut up Portobello mushrooms, coated with panko and fried. It comes along with a remoulade sauce. The other was Seared Wild Mushrooms in herbs. Great side to the Crispy Orange Beef.
Sweet potato pancakes are quite tasty and make sure you order challah bread, while you’re at it. Challah bread goes with everything!
Want a taste? On Sunday, November 3, the Paramus, Stamford and Westbury locations will be giving out samples of their kosher Thanksgiving menu from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. You can find the kosher catering menu on www.fairwaymarket.com