Something about Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls appealed so very much to my own sensibilities of confusion, contradiction, rebellion, and even the desire to physically wrap myself in luxury, whether it be cashmere or…giant pieces of bacon. Hell, being physically Korean, a culture whose cuisine is becoming increasingly associated with pork belly, and born/raised/elementaryschooled in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood, I am a bacon-wrapped matzoh ball.
At the restaurant, Chef Hall’s dish was good. The ping pong-sized matzoh balls fit perfectly with my personal preference. For balls —meat, matzoh or otherwise — I like them small and compact, not the bloated, softball-or-bigger behemoths that seem to be the trend of late. That size seems to work well for bacon-wrapping, too, as there’s more surface area for flavor that really only comes from the bacon, none from the matzoh ball itself.
I didn’t mind the horseradish mayonnaise, but I was slightly thrown off by its jarring color, so bright that it nearly glowed neon pink in the otherwise very dimly lit dining room. Making it at home with Chef Hall’s recipe below, an accompaniment with a kick is important. You know me, though.
I like hot cock with my balls.
Bacon-Wrapped Matzoh Balls
from Top Chef Ilan Hall, via Tasting Table
5 cups matzoh meal
1½ tablespoons baking powder
18 large eggs
¾ cup rendered lard or bacon fat
¾ cup water
Strips of bacon
Kewpie mayonnaise (Japanese mayo) or horseradish sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, combine the matzoh meal with the baking powder. In a food processor, beat the eggs. While the eggs are beating, slowly pour in the lard and water. Using a large whisk, incorporate the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix well to avoid lumps. Let chill in a refrigerator for 1 hour.
Prepare a large pot of well-salted boiling water. With moistened hands, roll out cherry-size balls of matzoh and immediately place into the pot. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, until they have doubled in size. Remove and let cool.
Once cool to the touch, wrap each ball in half a slice of thin bacon. Place the balls, seam side down, on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, until the bacon is crispy. Serve with kewpie mayonnaise or horseradish sauce.