Passover commemorates the story of the ancient Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt. Their immediate escape meant they had no time to wait for the bread to rise, and the unleavened bread they were able to bake and take with them constituted the first matzo. From this evolved the tradition of abstaining from food that contains leavening agents (“chametz”) during Passover, which lasts for seven days and celebrates various well-loved dishes. Here are recipes for favorite Passover dishes that can carry over into dinner parties and everyday meals throughout the season.
For breakfast during Passover, start with Classic Matzo Brei by Faye Levy. Softened matzo fried with eggs is a common Passover breakfast dish of Ashkenazi origin. A staple year-round on deli menus, it can be served either sweet, topped with jam or applesauce, or savory, more like an omelette or frittata.
Matzo is the centerpiece of Passover dishes from matzo brei to matzo ball soup, and it’s worth the effort to try making the traditional unleavened bread from scratch.
This recipe for My Matzos by Lauren Groveman makes a version of the traditional unleavened flatbread that’s more flavorful than the store-bought, boxed kind, especially topped with peanut butter, cream cheese, chopped liver or “schmaltz” (rendered chicken or goose fat).
Chopped liver is a classic topping for matzo, its creamy richness an ideal counterpoint to the cracker’s crunch. This recipe for Grandma Dora’s Chopped Liver by Molly O’Neill is extraordinary served atop matzo, getting its creaminess from the rendered chicken fat. White onion and paprika give the dish a savory kick. Also try Chopped Liver the Way My Mother Makes It by Faye Levy.
Matzo Ball Soup like this version by Christopher Idone introduces the age-old question of consistency: sinkers or floaters? Light as a feather, practically disintegrating into the surrounding moat of chicken broth, or substantial and al dente, providing a chewy, solid density? The “kneidlach” in Idone’s recipe call upon schmaltz for flavor, seltzer for buoyancy and beaten eggs for fluffiness.
Latkes are traditionally eaten during Hanukkah, with the cooking oil used to fry the latkes symbolizing the oil of the legendary long-lasting flame in the Hanukkah story. But they’re so crispy and satisfying served as an appetizer, a side dish, or snack, there’s no reason not to eat them year-round. This recipe for Potato Pancakes by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner is made with matzo meal, so this recipe is suitable for Passover as well.
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