Passover Hack: Fry Your Matzo
Plus: Georgia Freedman’s Bitter Greens & Orange Salad
Hear me out: This Passover, you should be frying your matzo. I don’t mean matzo brei, though you should be making that too, of course. I mean literally sizzling matzo boards in oil until they turn light and crisp.
I only recently experienced this bit of matzo magic. For the last several months I’ve been helping test recipes for a forthcoming Mexican Jewish cookbook. The book is being co-written by two professors, Ilan Stavans and Margaret Boyle, who collected more than 100 recipes (and the history that goes with them), from Jewish home cooks and chefs across Mexico. I’ll be sure to keep you posted when more info about the book’s publication is available!
Ilan and Margaret hired me to help make sure the collected recipes work consistently, and I’ve had so much fun in the process! I’ve blistered chili peppers and blended them into brisket marinade, learned how to confidently de-thorn nopales (cactus paddles), and made a killer poppy seed flan. I also learned that briefly frying matzo in oil, similar to how Mexican home cooks fry corn tortillas, makes it infinitely tastier.
The process of frying matzo only takes a minute (less, actually!) and crisps up its texture without soaking up a lot of oil. You end up with something lighter, crunchier, and more delicate than what you started with. The oil also adds a welcome layer of flavor to Passover’s favorite cracker, removing its trademark “cardboard” vibe.
Fried matzo makes a useful stand in for corn tortillas and tortilla chips, as well as thinner Indian breads like puri and roti. It is somewhat reminiscent of pita chips, though airier in texture, and can also be used as the base for desserts (see below for ideas).
To be clear: I am not suggesting that you fry every piece of matzo you eat this Passover! That would be 1. tedious and 2. arguably not the most health conscious choice. Besides, some dishes—like matzo with whipped cream cheese, matzo with salted butter and jam, matzo with almond butter and sliced banana, and matzo pizza taste best with regular matzo.
But as a longtime champion of finding delicious, minimally processed things to eat during the week of Passover, making fried matzo is a wonderful way to break up the holiday monotony and add something new to your repertoire.
Below the Fried Matzo recipe, I’ve included a dozen delicious ways to put it to good use. I’ve also shared a recipe for your seder (or any spring dinner)—a Bitter Greens & Orange Salad created by my friend, Georgia Freedman, who writes her own Substack newsletter, The California Table.
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