matzo-balls3I’m getting excited about cooking (and eating) at Passover because of all the new products in the local grocery store. This year there is gluten-free panko, gluten-free matzo, matzo crackers, matzo meal and a variety of dessert mixes.

This is a big deal. When I first went gluten free, Passover was a difficult holiday to deal with. The menu all contains matzo and therefore gluten. There’s gluten in the matzo ball soup, the kugel, the gefilte fish, the brisket, and the dessert. We don’t eat bread or certain grains at this holiday but the items I mentioned above are all made with matzo or gluten.

But that has changed. At my local store I found gluten-free matzo snack crackers, matzo, matzo meal, matzo ball mix and farfel without having to ask for it, search online or pay exorbitant prices. In fact, doing a quick search online I was able to quickly find five brands of gluten-free matzo products: Yehuda, Streit’s, Maischewitz, Shemura, and Lakewood. At least three of these brands are carried at my local grocery store.

Usually I am able to substitute the gluten-free matzo or matzo meal in standard Passover recipes. In a pinch I’ll even put the crackers through the food processor if I run out of meal. One benefit of doing research early on is that I discovered the benefit of using seltzer in my matzo balls; it seems to make them lighter.

Here’s the recipe I use:

-        2 tablespoons oil

-        4 large eggs

-        1 cup gluten-free matzo meal

-        Salt and pepper to taste

-        1/4 cup seltzer (optional)

Directions:

Put up an 8 qt pot of water to boil

In the meantime:

-        In a small bowl, beat eggs and oil and set aside

-        In a separate bowl, mix matzo meal, salt and pepper

-        Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and blend with a fork

-        Add seltzer and mix lightly

-        Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes

Remove batter from refrigerator. With wet hands, roll batter into just slightly smaller than golf ball size balls (should make about 12).

Drop in balls one at a time into the boiling water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until soft all the way through. Carefully remove from water with a slotted spoon.

I make these ahead of time and just add room temp matzo balls to hot soup then serve. If you plan to make and eat these immediately, you can also skip a step and cook the matzo balls directly in your chicken broth. Reduce the salt in your batter if you plan to do it that way.