Matzo Brei: Nothing to Pass-over Here

How do you make omelets and French toast even better than they already are? Matzo, that’s how.

ingredients

I know that “matzo” isn’t typically the answer to that kind of question because that shit is dry and flavorless, but just go with me on this. Much like the fried tortillas in chilaquiles, matzo has this way of turning regular old breakfast into something special, textured, and absolutely delicious.

And good news! It’s Passover, so matzo is plentiful and on sale! What? You are gluten-free? Yup, I got you covered. Now all you need is to decide if you are in a sweet or a savory mood, because matzo brei comes both ways. How switchy.

both_breis

I grew up eating both versions, savory immediately followed by sweet, because dessert following breakfast is TOTALLY a thing and obvi the only civilized way to eat. The classic savory version of matzo brei has fried onions in it, but I also like to add a little garlic, some fresh herbs, and even a little cheese. What can I say? Gilding the lily is sort of my calling card. The classic sweet version is a lot like French toast, served with butter and syrup and powdered sugar on top. Though I wouldn’t say no to a tumble of fresh berries, some whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate, OMG somebody stop me! No, don’t.

savory_brei_hand

Below are recipes for both sweet and savory matzo brei. But by all means, do NOT limit yourself to my ingredient list. This can really be a “clean-out-the-fridge” meal where you toss in leftover grilled veggies or pesto from last night’s dinner, or scrape out the last spoonfuls of your peanut butter jar (though if you are anything like me, peanut butter doesn’t really exist in spoonfuls because you have to eat an entire jar in one sitting if it is anywhere near your home).

sweet_brei

As long as you follow these five basic steps as a starting point, you can add pretty much anything to the mix and be happy about it. Chag Pesach Sameach!

The basic matzo brei technique in five steps:

1) Take out however many sheets of matzo you might need. I typically use 2 sheets per person, but I like to over-feed people.

matzo_pieces

2) Crumble up the matzo indiscriminately. You want some pretty large shards and some smaller pieces as well. Try to avoid making matzo dust though. That shit isn’t useful to anyone.

draining

3) Run some extremely hot water in your faucet. Once it’s hot, drown the matzo for about 45 to 60 seconds, or until you feel it start to break down a bit. You don’t want it totally water-logged, but it should def be pretty soft.

4) Drain the matzo of all the liquid. Completely. Literally press down on the matzo to squeeze out any remaining water.

egg

5) Mix in one egg per sheet of matzo, along with a few pinches of salt.

Now your paths diverge, and it’s time to get creative.

sweet_slice

Sweet Matzo Brei

Ingredients:

Butter (or dairy-free alternative)
Matzo and egg mixture (see above)
Cinnamon
Honey
Toppings: maple syrup, powdered sugar, fresh fruit, chocolate chips, whipped cream, etc…

Heat up a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Pour in the matzo and egg mixture over medium-high heat with a few dashes of cinnamon and a few squirts of honey. You can either scramble it up like you would scrambled eggs, or you can flatten the mixture out in the pan and cook it up in one big frittata-like disc (as shown below). Once everything is nice and browned, plate it up and pour on your toppings of choice!

disc

Savory Matzo Brei

Ingredients:

Butter/oil
Matzo and egg mixture (see above)
Salt and pepper
Optional add-ins: green onions, cheese, spices, fresh herbs, etc…

scramble

Thinly slice a medium-sized onion. Heat up a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet with a little oil as well. (Pro tip: mixing butter with oil prevents the butter from burning at a high heat. The more you know.) Add the onions to the skillet and cook them for about 10 minutes, or until the onions get super caramelized and brown and nom. Feel free to add in some fresh garlic or any other veggies you are into as well. You can also add some spices like garlic powder, dried herbs, chili powder, really anything your little heart desires. (The version shown above has onions, scallions, and chipotle cheddar cheese.) Just make sure you add a few big pinches of salt and black pepper.

Pour in the matzo and egg mixture over medium-high heat, and scramble it up just like you are making eggs. I know it is counter-intuitive to making scrambled eggs, but you really do want some brown and crispy bits here. Once everything is nice and browned, you can add some cheese to melt in, if you are into that (I definitely am). Enjoy!

Avatar of Stephanie Goldfarb

Stephanie Goldfarb is a social worker living in Chicago where she spends a lot of free time cooking hella good food to raise money for hella good causes. She also brings queerness to unsuspecting television viewers as a contestant on Food Network's America's Best Cook. Stephanie has Masters degrees in both Clinical Social Work and in Gender Studies, but prefers writing recipes much more than journal publications and case notes. Raised in a big, hungry, food-obsessed Jewish family, Stephanie learned how to cook at the age of six, and considers making food and feeding people the best parts of her life. Aside from queer sex. Because thatÕs pretty awesome. Follow Steph on Twitter for fun recipes and other food-related musings.

Stephanie has written 5 articles for us.

18 Comments

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    Yay! My parents were really apathetic about religion/cultural stuff growing up, so we never really observed Passover past the seder, so we never really had matzo in the house, so we never had matzo brei. Which means that now that I actually try to keep kosher for Passover I have to make my own traditions (and, more importantly, find my own recipes). Thank you for this!

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      Oh Im SO glad that you are into this, Keely! Im actually also much more observant as an adult than I was as a child. In some ways it sort of sucks because there is so much to get up to speed with that I missed out on, but in others its pretty awesome because I get to make so much of my practice my OWN. I love what you said about making your own traditions. I totes relate to that. If you make the matzo brei, I would love to know how the recipe works out for you!

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    This was my favorite breakfast when I spent the night at my grandparents’ house as a kid! I need to figure out the best way to veganize this so my Papa can make it for me again. Or I guess I could make it for him, but matzo brei is HIS job. Yumm.

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    My family never does the soaking-and-draining step (we make exclusively the savory kind) and it’s super delicious just as like, scrambled eggs with matzo in. I’ll definitely have to try your method for teh sweet stuff!

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    I made matzo brei for dinner last night. I generally eat mine with strawberry jam, nomnom. Unfortunately, I don’t have any jam in my kitchen.

    I’ve never tried savory matzo brei, but those caramelized onions look so yummy.

    Happy Pesach, everyone!

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    Matzah brei is pretty much the only way to make matzah halfway tolerable (besides Nutella, but that’s not Ashkenazi Pesach friendly). I don’t agree that it’s better than French Toast, but few things in life are. Though today I added apple sauce and raisins to the mix and it turned out seriously delicious.

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