Grandma's Matzo Brei: The Formula and Technique

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Matzo Brei

My grandmother was known for her matzo brei, Pesach’s answer to French toast. Hers was perfectly executed in her frying pan, its deliciously crisp crust leaving no suggestion of greasiness on the lips.  Hers was of the whole, unbroken, oversized pancake variety — I guess that’s how they did it in Galicia.

My grandmother would make enough to feed the crowd, whatever size it might be: 1 sheet matzo/per person: 1 egg

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6Servings

Ingredients

  • 6 sheets matzo
  • 6 eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

1. Break up the matzo by hand — crunch, crunch, crunch — until you get small pieces.

2. Use boiling water, not cold. It does a quick and efficient job of “cooking” (softening) the matzo.

3. Pour boiling water over the matzo and stir to wet and soften. Do not let matzo sit and soak. As soon as matzo is softened and slightly fluffy in appearance, drain. If matzo is left to soak, it will absorb too much water and get soggy, losing its texture.

4. Beat your eggs well prior to adding to matzo. This will give you a fluffier result.

5. Season well with kosher salt and black pepper (and I like cinnamon). Matzo is very bland and needs a good seasoning. (Don’t tell the FDA: Grandma always used to take a tiny taste of the raw batter to make sure there was enough salt and pepper…that’s why it was always perfectly seasoned!)

6. Use a heavy-bottomed skillet (for good heat conduction) and allow a few minutes to get your oil good and hot before adding matzah brei batter. Add enough oil to the bottom of the pan to create a generous layer—about ⅓-inch covering. If the oil is hot enough, the brei will not absorb all the oil and it won’t stick or burn, either.

7. Add batter to the pan, smoothing into an even layer. Allow matzah brei to cook undisturbed for at least 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat before attempting to flip. Using a spatula, gently lift up matzah brei to check bottom. If a nicely browned, cohesive crust has formed, it is time to flip. Using a spatula, gently slide and lift the matzah brei onto a plate. Then, carefully flip and invert back into the pan. Continue cooking on flipped side for another 4 to 5 minutes or until done.

8. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a serving plate to serve. Using a slotted spatula helps prevent transferring excess oil.

9. If making in advance, refresh, uncovered, in 350°F oven to warm and re-crisp.

10. Serve with sour cream, cinnamon-sugar, and preserves/jams.

Recipe published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller magazine Pesach 2016. Subscribe Now.

Pesach 2016 Joy of Kosher Magazine