Passover begins next Tuesday, March 30, and along with it comes the ceremonious dinner known as a Seder. While the rituals surrounding the Seder are traditional, this year, I encourage you to serve a modern meal inspired by matzo. This staple can be used in all sorts of applications, and each dish on my menu incorporates it. Start with crowd-pleasing and classic matzo ball soup jazzed up with dill-horseradish pistou.
For the main course, offer roasted salmon with lemon-herb matzo crust. On the side? A cheesy spinach and matzo pie. For these delicious recipes, keep on reading.
8 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup seltzer or club soda
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups matzo meal (10 ounces)
Pistou and Soup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped dill
2 tablespoons finely grated fresh horseradish
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 medium turnip, peeled and finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
5 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade
8 cups diced chicken (3/4 inch), from two 3 1/2-pound chickens
- Make the Matzo Balls: In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the olive oil, seltzer, salt, white pepper and ginger. Add the matzo meal and stir until moistened. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.
- Line 2 baking sheets with wax paper. Scoop the matzo meal mixture into fifty 1-inch balls. Using lightly moistened hands, roll the matzo balls until smooth. Transfer to the baking sheets and refrigerate the matzo balls briefly.
- Meanwhile, Make the Pistou: In a blender or food processor, pulse the olive oil with the dill, fresh horseradish, garlic, salt and white pepper until the dill is finely chopped and a sauce has formed.
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add the turnip, celery and carrot and cook the vegetables until they are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, simmer the matzo balls over very low heat, covered, until they are plump and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the stock with the vegetables. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to the soup; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until heated through. Serve the soup in bowls with a dollop of the dill pistou.
Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 3; refrigerate overnight.
Eight 1-inch-thick center-cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each), skinned
Salt and pepper
2 sheets matzo, finely ground
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme
Grated peel of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 425°. On a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, place the salmon skinned side down; season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the matzo, parsley, thyme, lemon peel, lemon juice and mustard; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the olive oil and butter.
- Cover the top of each salmon fillet completely with the matzo mixture, pressing to adhere. Roast until the salmon is just cooked through but still translucent in the center, about 10 minutes.
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped dill, divided
1 (16-ounce) container cottage cheese
2 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 ounces feta, crumbled (1 1/2 cups), divided
6 matzos (about 6 inches square)
- Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
- Cook onion in oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put spinach in a sieve and press out as much liquid as possible. Add spinach to onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/3 cup dill, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Purée cottage cheese in a blender with milk, eggs, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper until smooth. Reserve 2 cups in a bowl and stir remainder into spinach with 1 cup feta.
- Stack matzos in a deep dish and pour reserved cottage-cheese mixture over them. Let stand 15 minutes to soften.
- Arrange 2 soaked matzos side by side in a generously oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch (3-quart shallow) baking dish. Pour in half of spinach filling. Cover with 2 more matzos, then pour in remaining filling. Put remaining 2 matzos on top and pour any remaining cottage-cheese mixture over them. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup feta.
- Bake, uncovered, until golden and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve sprinkled with remaining 2 tablespoons dill.
Make ahead: Pie can be assembled (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.