Pesach: Cracking creations
We offer imaginative new matzah dishes
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A matzah salad with an Italian twist is one of several inventive recipes available to the Passover cook
Matzah and bread have identical ingredients; the only difference between them is the cooking time. For matzah to be kosher, it is baked no more than 18 minutes. It is all about speed and precision, and, with this in mind, here are a selection of creative new recipes that are quick to prepare and make the most of matzah's amazing versatility.
For breakfast, matzah muesli is a great Pesach cereal and a super-portable snack. Just bag it up and go.
To make it, combine 300g (a large box) of crumbled matzah, 400g pecan pieces and 200g slivered almonds in a large bowl. Warm 100ml honey, 50ml vegetable oil, a teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ a teaspoon of salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until boiling. Pour over the matzah mixture; toss until evenly coated, then spread the mixture evenly onto lined baking trays. Bake in an oven preheated to 180ºC for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, so that the mixture browns evenly. Toss the matzah mixture with 200g sweetened flaked coconut and 100g raisins and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Why not substitute matzah for bread to make Italian bruschetta? They make a tasty base for roasted red pepper and tomatoes, especially when spread with a basil sauce. Grilling the peppers gives them a lovely smoky flavour and they can be served as a starter or canapés, perhaps instead of chopped liver. There is an endless variation of toppings - grilled aubergine or courgettes, roasted red onions, or even strips of chicken.
Salad with goat's cheese and cherry tomatoes made with broken matzah and tossed in garlic and extra virgin olive oil makes a delightful accompaniment to fish and is perfect for Shabbat and Yom Tov.
Matzah makes a good base for a chicken stuffing. To stuff a large chicken, sauté 1 large chopped onion and 2 finely grated carrots for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Crumble 2 matzahs into warm water, soak for 5 minutes and squeeze dry. Add the matzah, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons each of fine matzah meal and chopped parsley to the pan, season well and stuff the chicken. If there is any mixture left, roll into little balls and bake until golden.
Like a normal omelette, matzah brei can be flavoured with mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes, peppers and even chillies. Large matzah squares make a great substitute for lasagne pasta sheets. Passover chicken lasagne is a popular family favourite. Serve hot with green salad or cold, cut into squares for packed lunch.
Don't forget the wide range of desserts that can be made with matzah - apple pudding, crumbles and chocolate matzah roll are just a few of my latest repertoire. Crushed matzah combined with matzah meal, sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, eggs and oil make marvellous biscuits.
Italian matzah salad
Preparation time: 10 minutes. No cooking. Serves: 6
● 150ml extra virgin olive oil
● 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
● 4–5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
● 20 tea matzah or 20 matzah crackers, crumbled
● 600g cherry tomatoes, red, yellow, plum, organic, on the vine, a mixture, halved
● 150g black olives, pitted
● 200g feta or mozzarella cheese, in cubes
● Large bunch of fresh basil
● Salt and freshly ground black pepper
● Put the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper into your serving bowl.
● Add the crumbled matzah and mix.
● Add all the remaining ingredients.
● Toss to combine well, taking care not to break up the cheese.
● Let the salad stand at room temperature for a minimum of 15 minutes or overnight to allow the matzah to soak up some of the dressing.
● Serve with a green salad that includes rocket, or baby spinach.
For information on Denise's cookery classes, visit www.jewishcookery.com