Spring is definitely here. I know this because I saw the first bug crawling up the screen in my bathroom window. That’s always the first sign of spring for me: insects invading my humble abode. Lucky for me, Elliot enjoys the extra protein, and watching him paw at the bug slowly climbing up the wall is as entertaining as it is really gross. After about 30 seconds, if he hasn’t decided to eat it, he’s most likely lost interest, which leaves me screaming for Ben to kill the bug because, naturally, I don’t do bugs. Period.
So yeah, it’s spring, right? It’s also getting dangerously close to Passover. We’re about a week and a half out now and after I spent this entire week making failed batches of tzimmes (hopefully more to come on this) and spinach kugel, imagine my elation when I finally got a version to come out right…and delicious!
I know it may sound weird, but growing up, spinach kugel was the only way to get a green vegetable inside me. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. This stuff was just good. But there was a science to it.
It had to be the right shade of green. Seriously! Not too dark, not too light, but just right. And the green couldn’t be easily mistaken for broccoli either. Nope, I needed full-on dark green saturating a good 85-90% of that kugel. (I also insisted that all my mint chocolate chip ice cream be green as well during this time. Don’t ask me why, but the white mint chocolate chip ice cream just didn’t taste the same. Kind of like the difference between white American cheese and yellow American cheese. But I digress…)
After I figured out how to make my sweet potato and apple kugel, I figured I could adapt that recipe for a spinach kugel as well without any problems. Har har har. Turns out, spinach is nothing like a sweet potato. Who knew?
The hardest thing about this kugel was getting the egg ratio down right. Too many eggs and you were basically making a soufflé, which is all fine and dandy, but that’s not what I intended to do here. No, I needed this to be dense, but still hold together without crumbling. It needed to stay on the fork, if you know what I’m saying.
Hey, does anyone else think the above picture looks like a slice of green lasagna? No? Yeah, me neither…..BUT, the slicing effect is exactly what I was going for here. And in order to achieve that, I had to play around with the following items:
1) Eggs (scale back)
2) Spinach (increase)
3) Matzoh meal (um….yeah, I don’t use this any other time of year, but I bought a ton and needed something else to hold this kugel together, so it seemed like a good thing to throw in the mix….and hey, it worked!)
Let’s talk about matzoh meal for a second. What is it? Well, it’s basically ground up matzoh.
I’m glad I could clarify things for you.
Matzoh meal is way coarser than flour and resembles a cornmeal texture. It’s much more abrasive, but can be easily manipulated to serve several different purposes. In this case, I used it as a binder much the same way you would use bread crumbs. You can also grind it down very finely to use for cakes, matzoh balls, and what have you. My goal during this Passover is to try and get myself more acquainted with this kosher crumb. We haven’t had much alone time together, so this is me working towards changing that.
Spinach kugel is one of my childhood love languages. And hey, since it’s got all that healthy spinach in there, I like to think it evens out all that cholesterol also swimming around (from the eggs), right? That’s how these types of things work, I thought. Or should I think of a way to also add some Lipitor to the mix to soften the blow?
It’s not easy being green.
Spinach kugel is a perfect staple for your Passover seder table or any dinner year round. The simple ingredients and dark green color are a great welcome to spring.
- 20 oz. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained until it's bone dry
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup matzoh meal
- 1 1/4 tsps kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil and heat on medium heat. When it starts to ripple, add the onions and cool until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the thoroughly drained chopped spinach, onions, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs together until homogeneous. This is an important step. Otherwise, you'll get bits of egg streaks in your kugel.
- Slowly add the eggs to the spinach mixture, being careful to let everything cool slightly so as not to scramble the eggs. Mix well.
- Add the matzoh meal and give it one final mix.
- Spray a 5'x7' baking dish with cooking spray and pour the mixture into the baking dish, smoothing out the top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until firm and the top is beginning to show some crispy edges.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving so as not to burn yourself.
I said 20 minutes for the prep time because it took me a while to get all the frozen spinach thawed and drained accurately. Also, the amount of salt may vary. I originally used 1 tsp and felt it could have used a hair more, so I upped it to 1 1/4 tsp, but your ratios may be different depending on your salt crystals.