Spring herbs make a natural addition to matzo balls, the soup dumplings that are part of many Passover menus.
I've been making this matzo ball recipe ever since the then-owners of Pumpernickle's Delicatessen in St. Louis shared it years ago. The herbs are a more recent addition.
I love the flavor of dill in chicken soup, and chives and parsley also are delicious. The matzo balls in the photo are flavored with chives, which are sprouting in a pot on my patio despite the lingering cold. You could use other herbs as well -- basil and chervil come to mind.
When you make this recipe, don't skip the resting time for the uncooked matzo ball mixture. Otherwise, the matzo balls will cook up leaden, not fluffy.
HERBED MATZO BALLS
Yield: about 14
1 1/2 cups matzo meal
2 tablespoons chopped dill, parsley or chives, or a combination
6 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water
Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt and matzo meal in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until well combined. Sprinkle herbs into bowl; whisk to distribute the herbs.
Combine eggs, oil and water in a medium bowl.Whisk until combined completely. Add to dry ingredients; mix with a large spatula until only a few small lumps remain, making sure there are no streaks of egg white. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a brisk simmer. Oil your hands lightly. Use your hands or an oiled ice-cream scoop to scoop up about 3 tablespoons of the mixture; roll lightly between your hands to form a ball. (The matzo balls will double in size as they cook.) Drop into the simmering water. When all the matzo balls have been formed, cover the pot and simmer for 35 minutes. To test for doneness, cut a matzo ball in half. The color should be consistent -- if the center is darker, return to the simmering water and cook for 5 more minutes.
To serve, drop the balls into hot chicken soup. If making ahead, transfer matzo balls to a bowl of ice water; keep at room temperature for a few hours or refrigerate overnight. Reheat for a few minutes in a pot of hot chicken soup. Matzo balls also can be frozen on parchment-covered cookie sheets, then stored in plastic freezer bags.