Today is the first day of Passover. Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and is observed for seven or eight days. During that time, Jewish Kosher dietary laws become more challenging, and even those who do not keep Kosher are expected to at least refrain from eating leavened food products such as pasta or bread.
The reason for this is rooted in the story of The Exodus: when Jews escaped Egypt with Moses, they were in such a haste that they did not have enough time to wait for their bread to rise before heading out into the desert. As a result, Matzah or Matzo, a pretty tasteless unleavened bread, is the star of the Passover kitchen.
I personally do not observe Passover, but I can’t resist all the boxes of Matzo that suddenly pop up in my grocery store in the weeks leading up to Pesach. And beyond the basic Matzo Balls, there’s a lot of ways to use Matzo in fun and simple recipes. Here are three of my favorites.
Matzo Crusted Salmon
Ingredients: Two Servings
- 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard (I used old fashioned Maille mustard with grains, but any Dijon would work)
- 1/2 tbsp plain yogurt (mayonnaise would work too but plain yogurt is healthier)
- 2 boneless salmon fillets
- Half a matzo cracker, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or canola oil spray. While the oven heats up, whisk together mustard and yogurt.
- Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Brush each fillet with the mustard mixture then sprinkle crumbled Matzo over them, pressing it down to make a crust.
- Transfer salmon to greased baking sheet and bake until just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Serve with steamed vegetables.
- Just spread some of your favorite tomato sauce (around 3 tbsp) on a matzo. Top with some shredded mozzarella (around 3 tbsp) and graded Parmesan (around 2 tbsp) and bake at 400 degrees F, directly on oven rack until cheese melts, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, top with the toppings of your choice (try to avoid pepperoni though… and while we’re on that topic, check out Buzzfeed’s hilarious list of Passover food fails such as a fried egg, basil, mushrooms or anchovies.
My personal favorite. It’s pretty much a regular s’more but with Matzo instead of Graham Crackers, and Nutella instead of chocolate.
- Start by breaking the Matzo into squares (that can be tricky).
- Melt the marshmallows in the oven; it’s pretty quick under the broiler.
- Spread the Nutella on a square of Matzo — since the Matzo isn’t sweet like the Graham Cracker, you might want to put a little more chocolate.
- Top with the melted marshmallow and sandwich with another square of Matzo.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to turn a bland box of matzah into the city’s next biggest dish (or building), listen up. Because the Jewish Food Experience has a contest for you.
DC has a new way to cook, experience and share Jewish food — and it’s just in time for Passover. The Jewish Food Experience, an ongoing culinary project supported by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s United Jewish Endowment Fund, aims to bring together shared dishes and stories with both traditional and modern Jewish recipes.
The project kicked-off last week at Equinox, where Chef Todd Gray prepared a breakfast spread with recipes from the Jewish Food Experience (think: Matzah Brei with Strawberry Compote and Quinoa Salad with Figs and Mint) and did a live demonstration on how to cure salmon.
And now it’s your turn to demonstrate your skills… with a box of matzah. The Jewish Food Experience’s new contest is asking that Washingtonians get creative in the kitchen.
The cooking-impared don’t need to worry — the contest isn’t just for recipes. The Jewish Food Experience wants participants to send either a favorite recipe using matzah or a photo of some fun, unusual way to use matzah (think buildings, art projects and useful household items). The entry deadline is March 29. For more information and to submit entries, visit their website.