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Matzah Meal Polenta, Michael Romano and Danny Meyer of the Union Square Cafe (Adapted by Florence Fabricant)


This recipe was adapted from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook and printed in the New York Times Passover Cookbook (page 105). Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Ingredients


  • Olive oil for coating pan
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 teaspoon each minced fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
  • 3/4 cup matzah meal, plus extra for coating the cakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions


  • lightly oil an 8-inch cake pan or straight sided tart pan
  • In a 2 quart saucepan, bring to a boil the chicken stock, bouillon cube and herbs. Reduce the heat and simmer until the bouillon cube is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Slowly pour the matzah meal into the liquid with one hand while whisking constantly with the other (be sure to use a firm whisk). Continue whisking until smooth and creamy. The mixture will become quite thick. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • In a bowl, beat the egg and egg yolk together; whisk the eggs into the matzah polenta. Raise the heat slightly and return the mixture to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the heat.
  • Pour the cooked matzah polenta into the cake pan. With a spatula, spread the mixture evenly and smoothly. Cover, place in the refrigerator and chill thoroughly, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • Cut the polenta into pie-shaped wedges. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a moderate flame. Dredge the matzah wedges in the extra matzah meal and sauté on both sides until golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.

 


 
     
     
     
     
     

 

 

 

 

 

   

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  Garlic has long been credited with providing and prolonging physical strength and was fed to Egyptian slaves building the giant pyramids. Throughout the centuries, its medicinal claims have included cures for toothaches, consumption, open wounds and evil demons. A member of the lily family, garlic is a cousin to leeks, chives, onions and shallots. The edible bulb or "head" grows beneath the ground. This bulb is made up of sections called cloves, each encased in its own parchmentlike membrane. Today's major garlic suppliers include the United States (mainly California, Texas and Louisiana), France, Spain, Italy and Mexico. There are three major types of garlic available in the United States: the white-skinned, strongly flavored American garlic; the Mexican and Italian garlic, both of which have mauve-colored skins and a somewhat milder flavor; and the Paul Bunyanesque, white-skinned elephant garlic (which is not a true garlic, but a relative of the leek), the most mildly flavored of the three. Depending on the variety, cloves of American, Mexican and Italian garlic can range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Elephant garlic (grown mainly in California) has bulbs the size of a small grapefruit, with huge cloves averaging 1 ounce each. It can be purchased through mail order and in some gourmet markets. Green garlic, available occasionally in specialty produce markets, is young garlic before it begins to form cloves. It resembles a baby leek, with a long green top and white bulb, sometimes tinged with pink. The flavor of a baby plant is much softer than that of mature garlic. Fresh garlic is available year-round. Purchase firm, plump bulbs with dry skins. Avoid heads with soft or shriveled cloves, and those stored in the refrigerated section of the produce department. Store fresh garlic in an open container (away from other foods) in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, unbroken bulbs can be kept up to 8 weeks, though they will begin to dry out toward the end of that time. Once broken from the bulb, individual cloves will keep from 3 to 10 days. Garlic is usually peeled before use in recipes. Among the exceptions are roasted garlic bulbs and the famous dish, "chicken with 40 cloves of garlic," in which unpeeled garlic cloves are baked with chicken in a broth until they become sweet and butter-soft. Crushing, chopping, pressing or pureeing garlic releases more of its essential oils and provides a sharper, more assertive flavor than slicing or leaving it whole. Garlic is readily available in forms other than fresh. Dehydrated garlic flakes (sometimes referred to as instant garlic) are slices or bits of garlic that must be reconstituted before using (unless added to a liquid-based dish, such as soup or stew). When dehydrated garlic flakes are ground, the result is garlic powder. Garlic salt is garlic powder blended with salt and a moisture-absorbing agent. Garlic extract and garlic juice are derived from pressed garlic cloves. Though all of these products are convenient, they're a poor flavor substitute for the less expensive, readily available and easy-to-store fresh garlic. One unfortunate side effect of garlic is that, because its essential oils permeate the lung tissue, it remains with the body long after it's been consumed, affecting breath and even skin odor. Chewing chlorophyll tablets or fresh parsley is helpful but, unfortunately, modern-day science has yet to find the perfect antidote for residual garlic odor.  

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