Matzo IS Bread, Ya Noodnik!

Hey, I’m posting a recipe. For Passover. Or another time.

Second Helpings, Please! was given to me by a super lovely client. He had talked about it – cause this book is beloved in Canada and was written by the mother of a longtime family friend of his in Montreal.  I had shown enthusiasm, he generously sent me a copy, I felt obliged to cook from it. Obliged in a good way. Do not need nor want anymore cookbooks staring me down to COOK FROM THEM. So I did.

Checked the index for sandwiches and there it was, Baked Matzo Sandwiches. Have you heard of that? I had not. Bingo! Exciting. Thank you, Eric, for giving me a reason to cook something new.

I had fun in the kitchen with this unusual – to me anyway – sandwich. I cooked. From a book. With embellishments. The original recipe calls for matzo, ground meat and onions. Plus salt and pepper and a couple other incidentals. So there was lots of room to improvise and I did. With lamb, pinenuts, escarole, garlic and… I thought of yellow raisins and will add them next time.

This sandwich was pretty good. Actually, I loved it. The matzo gets crispy, but is soft on the inside, and the flavors were so nice together, as were the textures. While cooking from this book the web that connects me to the world before us, behind us and within us filled my mind and heart.

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 11.27.35 AM Second Helpings, Please!

IMG_5626 Toasted Matzo Sandwich of Lamb, Escarole and Pinenuts

1 matzo, broken in half

1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 ounces ground lamb, veal, turkey, chicken or combination
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped escarole leaves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon toasted pinenuts

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

A nice option: The addition of some yellow raisins. I did not add them, but will next time. Also, the escarole could be replaced with spinach, arugula or watercress.   IMG_5628 First get out all the ingredients. IMG_5627 Put the matzo in an 8×8-inch dish and cover it with water. Let it sit. IMG_5629 Chop the onion, garlic and escarole. Turn the matzo dish sideways over the sink and gently press out the water with your hand. Try to keep the matzo intact. Pour the beaten egg over the matzo and season it with salt and pepper. IMG_5630 Put about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small, non-stick saute pan and set over medium-high heat to warm. Add the lamb and brown it nicely, stirring with a wooden spoon to break it into little pieces. Spoon the lamb out into a bowl, turn the heat down to low and add the onions.

Let the onions cook slowly until they are soft and sweet, about 5 minutes. Stir them often, let them brown, but not burn.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, until the garlic softens. Add the escarole, turn up the heat to medium high and stir until the escarole is wilted.

Remove from heat, stir in the lamb and pinenuts. Taste and then season with salt and pepper if you feel it is needed.

IMG_5631 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a large, non-stick, oven-proof (no plastic handles) saute pan with a thin layer of olive oil and set it over medium heat.

With a thin, flat, metal spatula lift one piece of matzo out of the egg carefully. Try not to break the matzo too much (it will be kind of a mess but that’s okay) and put it in the saute pan. If the matzo is broken just spread it into a nice flat rectangle as best you can. IMG_5632Spoon the filling onto the matzo and spread it around gently.  Lift the second piece of matzo out of the egg with the metal spatula and lay it over the sandwich filling. If it is in pieces, just patch it together and proceed. Not to worry.

Let the sandwich crisp up on the stove for about 4 minutes, then move it to the oven for 10 minutes. Use the spatula to turn your sandwich over and put it back in the oven for about 10 more minutes until it is brown and firm and crisp.

Slide the sandwich onto a board, use a serrated knife to cut it in half and eat it up. IMG_5634 IMG_5635 - Version 2 I ate (most of the sandwich) with a fork and knife, although it could be picked up easily. Fork and knife saved the laundress a bit of napkin washing. Sunny weekend lunch with panache.


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