When I was a kid, after Passover every year, my Dad would buy a box or two of close-out Passover matzos. He liked to make two things with his yearly purchase of matzo. First was a bologna “sandwich”: a schmeer of Miracle Whip and a couple thin slices of bologna on a matzo carefully broken in half.
Matzo (sometimes Matzah) is a single piece or sheet of unleavened bread. It’s like a 7 by 7 cracker. Breaking the matzo into two pieces for the sandwich was challenging. And eating the thing was a mess.
The other thing he made was Matzo Brei (rhymes with fry), a recipe that mixed matzo and lightly scrambled eggs. I swore he made up. It was so good but no one that I knew, Jewish or not, ever heard of such a thing. When I moved out, I forgot all about his quirky meal except I would always bring him close-out Passover matzo if I saw a box – which I rarely did. One day, though, I was reading a book by American Chef and former editor of the now shuttered Gourmet Magazine Ruth Reichl which had a section on Matzo Brei. All of the sudden, my Dad went from an eccentric matzo eater to a man with street cred.
This year out of the blue, my Brother found close-out Passover Matzo. My Dad passed away a few years ago, but I guess we just genetically feel a need to buy this product. My Brother gave me a box and I went to town.
It goes like this:
I take a sheet of matzo, crumble it up and cover it with water for a soak.
So right here is where Matzo Brei controversy gets revved up. Some people don’t soak the matzo and some soak the matzo in egg (like you would for French Toast). My Dad was a water guy and that’s what I go with.
I just soak the matzo for a minute or so while I get the other ingredients together. I crack an egg and a dollop of cream into a bowl with seasoned salt and pepper. I put the non-stick pan on the stove to pre-heat to medium, and make sure my butter is out. I do a one egg to one matzo ratio, but two eggs to one matzo is the more common ratio in the few recipes I just peeked at.
[Sometimes I do get a wild hair and put some dehydrated onion pieces in with the soaking matzo, or start the cooking by tossing in some finely diced onions, but mostly what’s above is what I do followed by…]
In the heated pan, drop in about a Tablespoon of butter. While it foams up, squeeze the water out of the matzo. It will look like you’ve swept something wet off the floor that needs to be thrown away.
Obviously this is a recipe not a “how to clean weird stuff” post, so hold judgement and toss that moist handful of ex-matzo into the frying pan. Season it with salt and pepper and stir it around to brown it up a bit. If the pan looks dry add more butter. In fact, just add a little more butter for kicks because you cannot really add too much butter and it will taste super good.
Once the matzo is browned up a little, pour in the egg/cream mixture. I like to turn off the burner and finish the dish with residual heat so as not to over cook the egg. Traditionally, according to my new research, the dish should be a bit wet.
It looks like this:
Matzo Brei is just as good as I remember. I have a year to finish the box before the next batch of close-out Passover Matzo hits the shelves.
Oh, and because I like to goof around in the kitchen, I’ve also made Pita Brei, substituting pita for matzo and making purists weep. For Pita Brei, I use two eggs for one whole pita. [This is perfect for when you have one pita left and whatever it was you made to put in the pitas is long gone. Use your food, don’t loose it to the trash.]