When I was a kid, after Passover every year, my Dad would buy a box or two of close-out Passover matzo. Passover Matzos are made specifically to be consumed during the Passover meal, hence the post Passover mark-down. Matzo is a single piece or sheet of unleavened bread. It’s like a 7 by 7 cracker. Dad liked to make two things with his yearly purchase of matzo. First he really liked to use matzo as the “bread” in a bologna “sandwich.” He would carefully break a matzo cracker in half, schmeer each piece with Miracle whip, and add a slice or two of bologna.
Breaking the matzo into two pieces for the sandwich was challenging and eating the thing was a mess. Dad’s creation is decidedly non Kosher as kosher dietary law prohibit mixing meat and dairy products, but it tastes great.
The other thing he made was Matzo Brei (rhymes with fry), a recipe that mixes matzo and lightly scrambled eggs. I swore he made up. I couldn’t believe something that tasted so good wasn’t more popular. No one that I knew in my small childhood world, Jewish or not, ever heard of such a thing.
As an adult in my own home, I forgot all about his quirky meal except if I was grocery shopping post-Passover and happened upon a box of marked-down matzo. I would buy a box for him and a box for me. One day, I was reading a book by American Chef and food writer Ruth Reichl in which she discussed Matzo Brei and provided a recipe. Her recipe was essentially my Dad’s recipe! 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 and purchased a few boxes. 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.
Matzo Brei goes like this:
Crumble a sheet of matzo into a bowl and cover it with water for a soak.
Soak the matzo for a minute or so while you get the other ingredients together. The ratio is 2 eggs to one sheet of matzo, although sometimes I like 1:1. The entire recipe has three main ingredients and seasoning: matzo, butter, eggs, and salt and pepper. Since the eggs are scrambled, I always add a dollop of cream or milk as I’m beating the egg.
Sometimes I 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 I’m not running a restaurant here, so I usually keep it simple.
In a 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 make weird looking 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 and crisp 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 beaten eggs. 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.
June 11, 2017