Chef Tony Maws was sick of missing Passover dinner because of work, so he decided to bring Passover to his restaurant. In 2005, Maws began hosting a seder at Boston's Craigie Street Bistro (now closed), and today he offers Passover dinner at Craigie on Main.
Of course, a Tony Maws seder isn’t your bubbe’s seder. The matzoh balls could be made with foie gras, for example, or the asparagus could be cooked sous vide with schmaltz. One tradition remains untouched, though. Maws sets a place for the prophet Elijah with the kiddush cup he received for his bar mitzvah. (If you notice that it’s a bit dented, it’s because his mom once accidentally ran it over with her car.)
You don’t need to make your matzoh balls with foie gras to have the best Passover ever—but you do need to make them right. Here, Maws’s top tips for perfect matzoh balls.
Decide: sinkers or floaters?
Everyone has a matzoh ball preference. Some people like them dense so they sink to the bottom of the soup, while others like them light and fluffy, bobbing in the bowl. For floaters, Maws recommends whipping egg whites into the mix (like Andrew Zimmern does in his recipe) and incorporating a little baking soda. For sinkers, Maws says the key is to add more fat. Acceptable fats include classic chicken fat (a.k.a. schmaltz) and duck fat, or you can take the balls to new luxe levels by using foie gras or bone marrow.
Buy the matzoh.
Don’t bother making your own matzoh for matzoh balls—after all, you’re just going to crush it up. Instead, buy and pulverize matzoh crackers. If you buy maztoh meal instead, make sure to grind it finely in a food processor.
Don’t overwork the balls.
Overworking matzoh balls is akin to overworking gnocchi; it’ll result in gummy, gluey balls. Maws recommends using an ice cream scoop to create the balls, then rounding them into perfect spheres with schmaltzy hands—making sure you don’t handle them longer than about five seconds.
Don’t make them too far ahead of time.
If you let the matzoh balls sit for too long they’ll become way too dense—but definitely do give the balls time to rest. Maws recommends at least two hours and up to eight.
But if you do, make them into hash.
If you accidentally let the balls rest for too long, take advantage of your mistake! Smash the balls down, roughly chop them and fry them (with schmaltz, obviously) until crisp.