Do "Passover sandwiches" sound like an oxymoron? Well, they're not! Creative cooks long ago came up with the perfect solution for Pesach food under wraps: the matzah-meal popover, bagel or roll.
When we were kids, and the intermediate days of the holiday were considered "days-we-had-to-go-to-school-anyhow," my mother of blessed memory would prepare delicious sandwiches for us.
She would halve a homemade popover and fill it with a myriad of fillings — ranging from cubed chicken mixed with green onion and mayonnaise, sliced brisket with ketchup, cream cheese with tomatoes or a dollop of tuna salad. Of course, the very best filling of all was sweet butter, which we indulged in only at Passover time.
Passover popovers are good for family trips and picnics, too. They certainly pack better than matzah. Try them with the ubiquitous hard-boiled egg and lettuce. Add fresh basil leaves to a homemade or purchased pesto.
Add a bit more sugar to the original recipe below to make them dessert-compatible. Inside, try a date-spread filling. Fill with Pesachdik custard or whipped cream. And dare I suggest chocolate spread? Use your imagination to make Passover brown-bag foods just a little bit different this year.
Here is the Schochet family basic popover recipe. Warning: Resist the temptation to double the recipe — it gets too hard to mix in the eggs. You'll find yourself making batch after batch, at any rate.
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 cup water
11/2 cup matzah meal
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 425°.
Grease a 12-cup cupcake tin well (or use fluted papers inserted into the cupcake tin).
Bring oil and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
Add matzah meal, salt and sugar all at once; beat in. Keep stirring until mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
Cool for another few minutes and beat in eggs one at a time, until thoroughly mixed in.
Pour into prepared tins.
Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 325° and continue to bake for an additional half-hour. Do not open oven to peak during baking time!
For Bagels: Place mixture in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Grease hands with oil and roll dough into 2-inch balls.
Place on greased cookie sheet.
Dip finger in water and press hole in center of each.
Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or so, until golden-brown.
For Rolls: Place mixture in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Make rolls by dropping rounded tablespoons of dough on well-greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375° for 50 minutes to one hour, until golden.
Rivka Tal is a food writer based in Jerusalem.