The Jewish holiday of Passover started last night with the first seder kicking off eight days of religious observance. A key component of Passover menus is unleavened bread or matzah. Matzah is eaten by Jewish people for a few reasons. One is as a symbol of the poverty and slavery they suffered in Egypt. The other is to commemorate their escape from Egypt, and the fact that their bread did not have time to rise before they left in a rush. So, matzah is a fundamental part of Passover, representing both freedom and oppression at the same time. Over the centuries, creative chefs have come up with a variety of ways to prepare matzah that elevates this unleavened Passover staple. Along with classic matzah ball soup (which is enjoyed all year long and not just for Passover), there are some very interesting and delicious ways to serve matzah after the seder is over.
To give leftover matzah new life and an Italian flare, how about a matzah lasagna? Layering matzah with ricotta cheese and tomato meat sauce is just one of many possible options. You can also do a spinach and cheese matzah lasagna or add lamb to your tomato sauce. The sauces will soften the matzah making it easy to cut and it will absorb all of those delicious flavors, whatever you have chosen to layer it with. There won’t be any need to soak the matzah beforehand. The more spices you add and the more cheese you melt on top, the more these matzah casseroles will please.
This is a classic way to use leftover matzah, and it can be enhanced as well. Traditional matzah brei involves soaking the matzah in egg and milk or water until soft and then frying in butter or oil. You can eat them straight away or sprinkle with salt and pepper or even sugar and cinnamon if you want to sweeten things up. But you can also take classic brei a step further. Try adding smoked salmon and onions to your brei and see how that tastes. A perfect way to bring two classic foods together. A match made in heaven.
This choice, with matzah as the “crust” has endless possibilities. Spread your tomato sauce and go crazy with toppings. Smother with cheese and cook until melted. Another comfort food matzah option is matzah nachos. You can top them with cheese and meat and anything else you like on your nachos. Let’s face it, matzah is a great topping delivery system!
Sweet Matzah Options
A little chocolate, some butter and some brown sugar and you’ve got a seriously sweet and delicious matzah bark. A chocolate and toffee bark can be made by melting the butter and combining it with the sugar until it boils, spreading it on the matzah and then adding chocolate chips. Melt this together and break up the matzah. That will leave you with a scrumptious sweet matzah treat. You can also make a sweet matzah granola with some dried fruit and nuts added to bits of matzah and baked. And what about a matzah cobbler? If you layer matzah with peaches, bananas, cinnamon, brown sugar, and then combine some softened cream cheese, milk, eggs and vanilla, and bake it all together, your matzah cobbler will be the hit of the post seder week.
There are many ways to enjoy matzah whether you celebrate Passover or not. But if you do celebrate this important Jewish holiday, you know you’ll have a lot of leftover matzah, and there’s no harm in trying new ways to serve and enjoy it. Sweet and savory options abound, and you'll no longer stare at the matzah stacks in dread. Instead, you might even head to the grocery store and get some more, because you won't have had the chance to try every creative and delicious variation!