How do you make omelets and French toast even better than they already are? Matzoh, that’s how. I know that “matzoh” isn’t typically the answer to that kind of question because it’s dry and flavorless, but just go with me on this. Much like the fried tortillas in chilaquiles, matzoh has this way of turning regular old breakfast into something special, textured, and absolutely delicious.
And good news! Passover is coming, so matzoh 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 matzoh brei (fried matzoh) comes both ways. How switchy.
I grew up eating both versions, savory immediately followed by sweet, because dessert following breakfast is totally a thing and the only civilized way to eat. The classic savory version of matzoh 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—I could go on all day!
Below are recipes for both sweet and savory matzoh 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 spoonfulls of your peanut butter jar.
As long as you follow these five basic steps 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 matzoh you might need. I typically use 2 sheets per person, but I like to over-feed people.
2) Crumble up the matzoh indiscriminately. You want some pretty large shards and some smaller pieces as well. Try to avoid making matzoh dust though.
3) Run some extremely hot water in your faucet. Once it’s hot, drown the matzoh for about 30 seconds, or until you feel it start to break down a bit. You don’t want it totally water-logged, but it should definitely be pretty soft.
4) Drain the matzoh of all the liquid. Completely. Literally press down on the matzo to squeeze out any remaining water.
5) Mix in 2 eggs per sheet of matzo, along with a few pinches of salt.
Boom. Now it’s time to get creative.
Sweet: Heat up a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Pour in the matzoh and egg mixture over medium-high heat, and scramble it up just like you are making eggs. Once everything is nice and browned, plate it up and pour on your toppings of choice!
Savory: 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. Just make sure you add a few big pinches of salt and black pepper. Pour in the matzoh and egg mixture over medium-high heat, and scramble it up just like you are making eggs. Once everything is nice and browned, you can add some cheese to melt in if you wish. Enjoy!
Stephanie Goldfarb, senior associate of teen initiatives at the Jewish United Fund, won the Food Network’s reality show ‘America’s Best Cook’ last year.