Horseradish is the cilantro of condiments: Either you love it or you can’t stand it. Some people long for the sinus-clearing pungency. Others gag, wince and cough. Regardless, it’s a Passover essential. Gefilte fish can be an acquired taste, too. Some find it spongey. Others find it unctuously luscious. (I happen to love it. I smear it on matzo like a nacho.)
Not up for making your own of either? Read on.
Impress your in-laws: If you’d rather steer clear of ho-hum grocery store horseradish brands, consider spicing up your seder by ordering from Saw Mill Site Farm. This small-batch horseradish purveyor in Deerfield, Mass., offers “the horseradish with the bite.” Ouch! There are no preservatives or additives. But there is some history: Did you know famous traitor Benedict Arnold used to buy horseradish for his troops in the Pioneer Valley? Buy 8-ounce jars at locations throughout Boston, including Whole Foods. The original contains nothing but horseradish roots, local vinegar and kosher salt, but they sell beet and cranberry varieties, too.
On-trend: If you’re feeling pressed for time, order everything from the ever-popular Mamaleh’s in Kendall Square. They’ll do a full Passover catering menu with horseradish (beet or plain); gefilte fish (eight balls per quart), charoset, chicken, brisket and more. Or just order their seder plate—zeroa, karpas and all—for $18. (Bonus: They sell gummy gefilte fish candy, too!)
The classic: As always, Brookline’s The Butcherie comes to the rescue with catering, with a 10-person seder menu (no substitutions). A brisket dinner with gefilte fish and horseradish appetizer (or choose chicken livers instead) is $300.
The quickie: If you prefer your gefilte fish a la carte, it’s hard to go wrong with the always-friendly Michael’s Deli, where you can get it for $3.75 each. Owner Steve Peljovich even makes a version with pepper, onion, garlic and citrus marinade just for the holiday. (They also have a smallish full catering menu, too, including new beef knishes. Yum!)
Feeding a crowd: This season, Zaftigs tagline is, “Let us be your Jewish mother,” and, well, that sounds tempting, because their Passover catering menu is massive: gefilte fish ($3.50 each, with beet horseradish); three types of potatoes; mushroom stuffing; apricot chutney and even chocolate-caramel matzo bark. Seder plates are $7.95.
For the very lazy: Newton favorite Inna’s Kitchen is now housed at the Boston Public Market. The Jewish restaurant’s gefilte fish is scratch-made, using fish from seafood wholesaler and BPM neighbor Red’s Best. It’s gluten-free, too! Best of all, they’ll still deliver to Newton (details here), despite their city move. Also enjoy gluten-free (and standard) matzoh balls, vegan stuffed peppers and potato kugel. A special sweet-and-sour pot roast, new for Passover, stays on the menu even after you’ve polished off the charoset. Be sure to order by March 16.