Shabbat dinner comes once a week. That's 52 meals a year, each one another opportunity to perfect your dinner party game. And as I have learned over the last decade or so that I have been hosting Shabbat dinner, the holiday meal also offers a chance to highlight seasonal ingredients and get creative in the kitchen.
The Party Plan: A Modern Summer Shabbat Dinner
Focusing on dishes from my cookbook Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen, I recently hosted a summer-inspired Shabbat dinner with a menu that delighted my guests, and would be equally delicious for any warm-weather fête.
I invited a few family and friends, including Kelli, an editor here at The Kitchn. (Of course, Shabbat dinner is usually served and eaten after sundown, but we shot this during the daytime for the sake of the photography.)
A Fresher Shabbat Menu for Summer
I adore chicken soup and potato kugel — of course I do, who wouldn't? — but when it comes to Shabbat dinner, I tend to get tired of cycling through the same roster of traditional dishes week after week. Having an expected menu feels particularly stifling during the summer months, when the tables at the farmers market are groaning under the riot of fresh produce heaped upon them.
That is why I decided to let summer shine at a recent Shabbat dinner I hosted at Naf and Anna's lovely home in Brooklyn. (They are good friends; regular Friday night dinner companions; and, thanks to their kosher, sustainable meat company, Grow & Behold, the primary source of all the meat I buy.)
The Dinner Menu: Fresh and Summery Recipes from Modern Jewish Cooking
Let the rib-sticking brisket wait until winter, I figured. Now, while the mercury is high and the vegetables are indecently beautiful, is the time to bring summer to life at the Shabbat table. Here is the menu I served, featuring dishes from Modern Jewish Cooking.
A Modern Summer Shabbat Dinner: The Menu
This menu serves six people. The zucchini is best made right before serving, although all of the other dishes can be made ahead of time.
What's Coming Up This Week
From recipes and what to know about attending your first Shabbat dinner, to how to shop for a summer Shabbat, there's a lot more to come this week! Here's what you'll see in the coming days:
- A first-timer's guide to Shabbat dinner: What if you’re asked to a Shabbat dinner and you’ve never been? Do you know what to expect? What should you bring? And just as important, what things shouldn't you bring?
- Recipes: Throughout the week we'll be sharing all four recipes, largely from Modern Jewish Cooking, that guests enjoyed at the Shabbat dinner.
- Our Shabbat dinner from Modern Jewish Cooking: Keep an eye out for the full party post on Wednesday.
- Shopping and prepping for a summer Shabbat dinner: There's a certain art and science to shopping for Shabbat dinner — and really any dinner party. Know where (the farmers market vs. supermarket) and when to get everything.