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Tips For The Perfect Matzo Brei

 

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Once we’ve gotten ourselves past the Seder accoutrements ~ the ceremonial foods, the hearty meal and the sweet desserts, we can look forward to some of the other holiday treats.  In my household, running a close second to the chocolate covered matzo, is matzo brei.  Matzo brei is the quintessential Passover brunch food; although it’s just as appreciated as a light dinner, too.

Loosely translated, matzo brei is matzo fried with eggs.  And while that is often the case, it can be so much more!  For instance, is your favorite style more matzo than egg, like a pancake; or is it more egg than matzo ~ frittata style?

Important to the making of any good matzo brei is the crumble to soak ratio.  The matzo should be broken into large pieces, about the size of a half dollar.  The soaking should soften the matzo just enough to still retain a crisp bite of texture.  Too soft and the brei will be like scrambled eggs.  Too crisp and it will not be able to absorb any flavor.  Most recipes, even Bubbe’s, will have you soak the matzo in water.  Ideally the matzo should be soaked in milk or cream for your dairy selections.  For meat dishes, soaking in chicken broth will add an additional nuance.

No matter which recipe you use, be sure to fry the batter undisturbed in butter, schmaltz or olive oil for several minutes over a low fire for a beautifully bronzed crust before turning.

For those with a sweet tooth, in its most traditional form the matzo brei is buttery soft with crispy edges, served with cinnamon sugar, honey and a medley of fresh berries.  Others opt for a savory version of salami rendered in peppered schmaltz.  But one look in your holiday fridge can offer an endless range of options ~ even during this holiday’s restrictions.

Put that leftover dill to use with a lox and onion matzo brei.  Fold in dollops of cream cheese for a rich flavor.  Another option is to sauté chicken with red peppers, ginger and scallions which will bring an Asian flare to the week.

Or perhaps a dessert style matzo brei is more to your liking?  Try one with farmer cheese lightly whipped with lemon zest and vanilla, or turn the classic cinnamon into a sweet treat with toasted chestnuts, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes; it’s so delicious that you’ll enjoy it year round!

Salami and Eggs Matzo Frittata

 

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About Alison and Jeff Nathan

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Chef Jeff Nathan is the executive chef of The Abigael’s Group, which includes Abigael’s on Broadway and the Green Tea Lounge. He is also the author of two popular cookbooks, Adventures in Jewish Cooking and Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers. At his restaurants, and on his acclaimed public television series, New Jewish Cuisine, Chef Nathan emphasizes the flavors of modern America while strictly observing the laws of kashrut. Along with his wife Alison, Chef Nathan is setting a new standard for kosher cooking with his innovative dishes and creative presentations. Find out more at Abigaels.com

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