Matzo brei (or “fried matzo” as my mother called it) happens once-a-year at Passover. Matzo is that unleavened bread that Jews eat during the Passover holiday to commemorate their having to escape Egyptian slavery in a hurry without sufficient time to let their bread rise. Basically a cracker made of nothing but flour and water and baked in no more then 18 minutes from start to finish, matzo is probably an acquired taste.
In this case, Fellow FoodBeest, it occurs as a total comfort food.
Matzo brei involves mixing the matzo crackers with eggs (and sometimes milk) and frying them up in a pan.
There are as many ways of making matzo brei as there are Jews in the kitchen.
Some matzo gets soaked to a soggy mess in water; some goes quickly through running water in the faucet. Sometimes all that water gets squeezed out; sometimes it doesn’t. Then it gets mixed with eggs and maybe milk, and cooked in a pan, either omlette style or scrambled egg style and served, topped with salt, jelly, honey, powdered sugar, cheese, salsa, syrup, nuts, bananas, berries, lemon ricotta or whatever you can think of.
Matzo brei can be served at any meal. This one is clearly a breakfast food.
I think I invented my own way of making matzo Brei when I was a kid. I doubt that I’m the only one who does it this way, but here goes.
Since the process of making fried matzo in my house looked a lot like making French toast, I decided to go the whole route using the matzo to replace the bread. In a variation on the theme, the matzo brei gets salted and topped with maple syrup. I think this was my first discovery of the joy of sweet-salty.
What You Need To Make Matzo Brei
3 boards matzo
¼ C milk
1 t sugar
½ t vanilla
2 t butter or cooking spray
1 firm apple
1 T butter
¼ t cinnamon
2 t brown sugar
What It Takes To Make Matzo Brei
Peel and core the apple and cut it into pieces about ¼-inch in diameter. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan and add the apple pieces. When they start to soften up, add the cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well and continue cooking until they are soft and slightly brown. Turn off heat and set aside.
Run the boards of matzo under running water until they are wet, but not soaked, then break them up into bite-sized pieces. This will give you some texture in the finished matzo brei: something for your teeth to actually chew.
Wisk together the eggs with the milk, salt, sugar and vanilla, just as you might for French toast. Put the broken, damp board of matzo into the egg mixture and mix well.
Heat an 8-inch sauté pan and add butter or cooking spray. Add the egg/matzo mixture and, with a wooden or silicone spatula, continue to turn the egg/matzo mixture like scrambled eggs until it is nearly dry.
Turn it out on a plate, salt it lightly, top with sautéed apples and maple syrup. Serves two generously.
Fellow FoodBeest, what is your favorite version of Matzo Brei/
fried matzo? Was it the one you grew up with or something you discovered since then? Share it in the Comments section below.