Spring is officially here! Flowers are in bloom, the weather is in the 60s, and the holidays of the season have come and gone.
I certainly ate my share of matzah this past week as I participated in the UJA-Federation New York's Matzah Challenge - every picture of matzah posted on social media yielded an $18 donation to the organization to help those in need, so I posted as many as I could to help with this incredible effort. I chose to do a 'Matzah Challenge by the Rainbow,' and for the eight days of Passover, I posted a matzah matching the different colors. I had a ton of fun creating within these boundaries, and it gave me an opportunity to explore a more artistic approach to plating on a set canvas; each one turned out to be pretty tasty as well! I don't think I have a favorite, but maybe one will speak to you! I included them all below for you to check out. Click on the images to head to the post links and read more about each one, and if you are interested in making any of them on your own, please let me know so I can share more details about how to put it together!
Since I spent most of my capacity for matzah on the above, I have lots of matzah meal and cake meal left over and am fortunately not too tired of it just yet! I do have a collection of recipes that can easily incorporate either one, so I am excited to continue enjoying Passover-inspired dishes in the coming weeks. Today, I am going to share with you my Butternut Squash Schnitzel recipe that uses regular matzah meal for the breading. It also comes with three simple, yummy components on the side that really sell it as a delightful and complete dish - and it is a great way to use up more of the other Seder Plate ingredients you might still have!
I chose butternut squash as the star of this dish, even though it is typically considered a winter ingredient, as its sweet flavor and creamy mouthfeel are a wonderful complement to the nutty, toasty crunch of the matzah crust. Its bright orange color when cut open and its light and fluffy texture also scream spring to me, and it holds up well in the breading process, so I couldn't not use it.
Schnitzel is a comfort food, and what goes better with comfort food than potatoes? That is why the next part of the dish is mashed potatoes mixed with the irresistible appeal of roasted garlic and our Passover parsley. The green flecks mixed in with the yellow remind me of all the green that is starting to come out on all the trees too, and the thought of all the plants in bloom gets me so amped up for all that I will be able to cook with in the next few months.
Now for some more layers of complexity - let's get our charoset on this dish too for some more texture and vibrancy to cut through all the creaminess! If you have some left over from your celebration, feel free to just use that here. But if you ran out, then this pear and cashew version will bring the same essence but with a fresher take. The zesty lime and tart pomegranate juice contribute a more vivacious depth, and the inclusion of coriander, ginger, and paprika add some earthy notes as well as help to round out and elevate the different pops of flavor in a unique way.
Lastly, we have our horseradish yogurt, because a sauce tends to make everything just a little bit better. Super quick to put together - fresh or jarred horseradish from the Seder Plate, yogurt, and salt - that's it! I prefer the jarred horseradish because it is a little bit sweeter and acidic, providing the yogurt with some more oomph to really give it a standout identity and purpose in the dish, and you don't have to risk crying while grating it! The yogurt adds richness as well, meshing seamlessly with the schnitzel, potatoes, and charoset individually and thus tying the dish together in such a clear way.
While this dish prominently features Passover themes, it does not explicitly feel like Passover and will totally satisfy at any time of the year - plus, matzah meal does not expire quickly, so if you are looking for a break from these items, go and take it! Whenever you are in the mood for some feel-good food and are craving something that is more unusual than your typical go-to but still very familiar, this recipe will be waiting for you below.
Butternut Squash Schnitzel
Garlic Mashed Parsley Potatoes, Pear and Cashew Charoset, Horseradish Yogurt
Yield: 4 servings
Butternut Squash Schnitzel 1 small Butternut Squash (can sub 2 Sweet Potatoes) 1 Egg ¼ tsp Paprika ¼ tsp Garlic Powder 3/8 tsp Salt Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 cup Matzah Meal
Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
Peel the butternut squash and slice the top half into rounds about ¼-inch thick (save the bottom for another use).
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the egg with the paprika, garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp salt.
Place a piece of parchment on a sheet tray and drizzle a little oil over the bottom.
Place the matzah meal in a medium-sized bowl. Bread the squash by first dipping it in the egg mixture with one hand, then the matzah meal with the other. Shake the bowl with the matzah meal to fully coat the squash. Place on the tray, then drizzle a little more oil and the remaining salt over the top.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes – they should be slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Garlic Mashed Parsley Potatoes 1 head Garlic 2 medium-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes Salt ¼ bunch Parsley
Cut the top end off of the garlic head. Wrap it in foil and roast in the 400˚F oven until soft, about 20 minutes.
Cut the potatoes into large cubes, then place them in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are soft. Drain, then place back in the pot and roughly mash with a whisk. Squeeze and mix in the roasted garlic.
Rough chop the parsley and combine it with the potatoes.
Season with salt.
Pear and Cashew Charoset ¼ cup Cashews 1 Pear 1 Lime 3 ounces Pomegranate Juice ¼ tsp Coriander 1/8 tsp Ginger ¼ tsp Paprika ¼ tsp Salt
Rough chop the cashews, then toast on a tray in a 325˚F oven for 12 minutes.
Small dice the pears, then run the knife through them a few more times to create a rough chop. Place them in a medium-sized bowl with the cashews when cool.
Zest and juice the lime and add that to the pears and cashews along with the pomegranate juice, coriander, ginger, paprika, and salt. Mix until everything is well-incorporated.
Horseradish Yogurt ½ cup Yogurt 4 tsp Horseradish (fresh or jarred) 1/8 tsp Salt
Peel and grate the horseradish with a microplane if you have fresh. Combine the horseradish with the yogurt in a small bowl and season with salt.
Cut the Butternut Squash Schnitzel in half and reheat in the 400˚F oven until warm, about three minutes. Warm up the Mashed Potatoes on the stove.
Place ¼ cup Mashed Potatoes in the center of the plate, then ¼ cup of the Charoset to the right of the potatoes, saving the juice for the end.
Spoon 3T of Horseradish Yogurt in front of the potatoes and charoset.
Lay six pieces of the Butternut Squash Schnitzel on top of the horseradish yogurt.
Drizzle the Charoset Juice over the components and around the plate.