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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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5 Responses to Tips For The Perfect Matzo Brei

  1. avatar says: viorica

    sounds like you are part of my Family !

  2. Hello everyone and a Zeissen Pesach to all!
    Now on to the question: I’ve read this twice, but
    still haven’t found the recipe for making basic
    Matzo Brei! I’ve never made it right: it’s either
    too mushy, too eggy; too salty or not enough;
    either I make too much or too little. So I end up
    not making it. And I do love it! So what’s this
    embarrassed Bubbe to do?

  3. avatar says: Alison

    Hello Bubbe! Best thing to do is create your own recipe for what works for your family. And get back to basics. Figure two sheets of matzo per person, broken to large pieces, soaked in milk or water until crisp tender, (about 3 minutes). Coat in eggs (1 – 2 per person, depending on if you like it eggy or not). Fry in butter & oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, or go sweet and season with sugar and cinnamon. Yummy either way, and be sure to add in the style of how YOU like it! Have a great holiday! Alison, Jeff & the Abigael’s Team

    • Dear Bubbe, No need to be embarrassed. If you can make French toast, then you can make matzo Brai. You are essentially just substituting matzo for bread, except that it is customary to break up the matzo first into bite-sized pieces and to soak it a bit before cooking. Take it from NiceJewishMom.com — this is one dish that is easy to dash off, even after cooking and cleaning up an entire Seder meal. Although I know many people gravitate toward a sweet rendition, my own mother kept it in the savory side, and I follow suit. My only issue with this delicacy is that it can be bland, so here’s what I do: Slice or dice an onion or two and fry in olive oil in a large pan until it begins to brown. While it is cooking, boil a kettleof water and break up some matzo into rough squares no bigger than a saltine cracker. (Figure on one to two whole pieces of matzo per person.) Put the matzo into a collander and pour the boiled water over it quickly while holding the collander over a sink so the water can drain right out. Beat eggs (at least one per whole matzo), in a large bowl, add a generous splash of milk, and then pour the broken matzo in. Allow to soak briefly — perhaps for two minutes. Then pour the whole schmear into the pan with the onions, making sure there is enough oil and/or butter in the pan to allow the matzo brei to brown. Before it is done, I add some fresh chopped parsley and dill, as well as salt and pepper to taste. My only other tip: no matter how much I make, it all goes. It’s always that good! Yours will be too. Good luck and enjoy!

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