Every year around this time, I start worrying about matzah balls. Ten years ago, I took over the job of Passover host from my mother, and though I have always enjoyed the challenge of cooking the feast, the soup course was my nemesis. In my quest for those fluffy, fork-tender spheres that separate mediocre cooks from legendary ones, I tried dozens of recipes and tested every possible technique. Was it the schmaltz? The boxed mix? The seltzer water?
This year, I finally conquered my fears. After polling a number of bubbies who happily revealed their tricks, I cobbled together what I hope is a fail-proof recipe. Give it a spin and let me know what you think. Just don’t ask me to tell you how I did it.
Makes 8 large balls
Note: Make sure you begin making these at least 4 hours before serving.
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup seltzer water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups matzah meal
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
Dill sprigs or chopped chives, for garnish
1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks well with the olive oil, broth, and seltzer water. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites until they are fluffy but not dry.
3. Gradually add the matzah meal to the yolk mixture and gently fold in with a spatula.
4. Gently fold in the egg whites. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
5. In a medium pot, heat broth to a simmer. Form matzah mixture into golfball-sized balls (using a greased ice cream scoop or wet hands) and drop carefully into broth, being careful not to handle too much.
6. Cover pot and simmer 30 minutes. No peeking!
7. Serve one matzah ball in each bowl of soup, garnished with a sprig of dill or chives if desired.