matzah brei

April 25th, 2008

matza brei frittata

I have fond memories of eating matzah brei for breakfast of a Sunday morning during Passover. I’d wake up to the smell of browned butter and cinnamon, and wander into the kitchen.

My dad preferred the scrambled style of the traditional dish. He’d break several sheets of matzah into large pieces and soak them in water or milk, then mixing them with beaten eggs and stir-frying them in a large skillet. He’d sprinkle the crisp, golden matzah pieces with a little sugar and cinnamon, and serve them up to my brother and me. We would raid the refrigerator for all manner of toppings—cottage cheese, butter, cheddar cheese, American cheese, jam, chocolate syrup—and carry them, teetering, back to the table.

The adventure began when we sat down to eat. Cottage cheese and jam? Jam and butter? Cheddar and jam? Cottage cheese and chocolate syrup? The possibilities were endless and no combination was too weird. The matzah brei itself was a delight, a more rugged version of French toast we only ate once a year. I can still taste it, eggy, warm, buttery and bread-like, the sandy sweetness of cinnamon and sugar in my mouth.

savory matzah brei

1 1/2 cups matzah farfel
4 eggs
1-2 handfuls fresh parsley
1 stalk green garlic or spring onion
1 poblano pepper or other pepper
smoked paprika
salt and pepper
cheddar cheese or any other cheese

  • Pour the matzah farfel into a large bowl. Break the eggs into the bowl and mix with a fork, beating the eggs slightly and tossing to coat the matzah farfel.
  • Melt some butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Coarsely chop the parsley and toss into the bowl.
  • Finely chop the green garlic or spring onion and toss into the skillet.
  • Chop the pepper into 1 inch (3 cm) pieces, adding it to the skillet. Toss to coat with butter and let the mixture sweat.
  • Scoop the pepper mixture out of the skillet and into the bowl of farfel.
  • Season the farfel egg mixture with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Mix to incorporate the peppers and seasoning with the farfel and eggs.
  • If necessary, melt more butter in the skillet. Spoon the batter into the skillet and smooth it into a large pancake.
  • Crumble some cheese onto the matzah mixture. Turn on the broiler as the matzah brei cooks.
  • Once the matzah brei has cooked for a few minutes, turn off the flame and place under the broiler. Remove when the top is golden and the cheese has melted.

Serves 2-4

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