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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Salt 'n Peppa

I've been in a kugel-y mood lately.  To be brutally honest, I'm always in the mood for a nice piece of kugel, so nothing here is news.   Just roll with me for a minute...

Kugel isn't really a summertime food.  I think of it as a little heavier, and thus not quite as appropriate in the summer months.  But now, with the leave changing and the days getting a wee bit shorter, I'm back on the kugel brigade.

I grew up eating sweet kugels, those custardy confections full of eggs, and cream cheese, and raisins, and cinnamon sugar.  In fact, as far as I can tell, everyone's mother (at least everyone who's Jewish), has their own version of a sweet kugel.

Yes, my mother had her signature Patti Sherman kugel.  I think the recipe originally came off the Manischewitz noodle package, but pretty much so did everyone else's.  Let's face it, if you're talking Jewish food, Manischewitz figures into it somewhere.

But I digress.  Although I am a huge fan of sweet kugel, I knew that out there, somewhere in the kugel galaxy, there were savory kugels too.  In the deep recesses of my mind, I even recall that Cantor's Deli on Fairfax served a savory version of said kugel.

A quick confirmation with my close friend and resident expert on all thing culinary, Google, revealed that in fact the savory kugel is alive and well and living in Jewish kitchens from here to eternity.  Oh savory kugel, if only I had known.

I decided to start small and simple with a salt and pepper kugel.  I didn't even actually follow a recipe.  Rather, I just played around and this is what I came up with.  What resulted was a delicious, crispy on top and dense in the middle, slice of kugel.  Not to salty, and not to peppery.  It would be just right with chicken or roasted meat.  It would even be nice in place of its sweeter cousin at brunch.

Savory kugel perfection.

Recipe:  You Little Tarte's Salt and Pepper Kugel

Note:  I am a perfectionist and I like nice sharp edges on things like kugel.  If you are less picky than I am (and this would be a good thing), bake the kugel at 350 for about 1 hour and serve.  Skip the refrigeration step.


12 ounces extra fine egg noodles, cooked to just before al dente
5 eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.  Cook the noodles to just short of al dente.

While the noodles are cooking, melt the butter.  Combine the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Dribble a little of the melted butter into an 8x8 baking dish and, using a paper towel or a brush, butter the dish well, making sure to get all the corners and sides.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them, and pour them into the bowl with the eggs.  Add the remaining butter, and stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and refrigerate until it is cold, or overnight.  Once the kugel is cole, cut it in squares or triangles (I like triangles), and return to a preheated 350 oven for an addition 40 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Your perfect, ready to serve slices of kugel will be easy to remove from the pan. Serve hot.

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