Let in spring, when the earth is renewing and reassembling herself, Passover is celebrated as a sort of second New Year, reflecting the rebirth of the Jews as a free people after the Exodus from Egypt. Children start the season with new clothes, and houses are thoroughly cleaned and freshened up to make way for the new foods and special sets of dishes reserved just for Passover use.
And just as they delay until
Prepare the matzoh balls:
Scrape the mixture into a large bowl. You need
When ready to cook, bring
Turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, without removing the cover. (They will cook by direct heat as well as by steam, which makes them puff and swell, and lifting the lid will allow some of that steam to escape.) Take out a dumpling and cut it in half. It should be light, fluffy and completely cooked through. If it isn’t, continue cooking a few more minutes. Remove the balls gently with a skimmer or large slotted spoon—they are too fragile to pour into a colander.
When the matzoh balls are almost ready, start the soup: bring the broth to a simmer in a large pot. Add the matzoh balls, the mushrooms, and asparagus and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the matzoh balls to shallow soup bowls and ladle the hot soup and the vegetables over them. Garnish with the reserved chopped fennel fronds.
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.