It took me many years to get the Yom Kippur break fast down pat, and I’m happy to share a recipe for my zucchini and cheese casserole known as koosa b’jibn in the Syrian Jewish community. I make it a day in advance and it reheats nicely after Yom Kippur. It is satisfying, fresh and a welcome change from bagels and lox.
In my family, we have the tradition to break fast on a dairy meal. This recipe is a people-pleaser for young children and adults alike.
I set out water, juice and pastries as soon as the fast ends, then immediately get coffee and tea brewing. I place the casserole into a cold oven set to 350 F, and let it warm up for about 20 minutes. It helps if you remove it from the fridge about an hour beforehand, to warm up to room temperature. I serve this with bread and butter and a small green salad on the side.
Because so many of us are having much smaller holiday get-togethers due to COVID-19, I created this recipe with a smaller group in mind. If you have a large family, simply double the ingredients and it will turn out beautifully.
1½-2 tablespoons olive oil
½ of a large sweet onion, diced
3 medium zucchinis, cubed, about 3-3½ cups
4 large eggs
½ pound shredded muenster cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F and place the baking rack in the upper third of the oven.
Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Add the zucchini to the onion and sauté about 10 more minutes. You want the onion and zucchini to start to soften but to still have some bite. That way, they won’t get too mushy while baking.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs and spices together.
Pour the zucchini and onion mixture into a 9-by-13 ungreased baking dish.
Stir the muenster and mozzarella cheese into the vegetable mixture, then fold in the egg mixture with a rubber spatula, making sure it spreads evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the casserole starts to brown on the top. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or let cool completely before wrapping with plastic wrap and refrigerating. This recipe works well for brunch and for the holiday of Shavuot. I hope you enjoy it for years to come! PJC
Jessica Grann is a home chef living in Pittsburgh.