I’ve never seen my mom make Matzah Brei, but she is the only person I think of when I cook it.
Spring break in New York always coincides with Passover so my mom, my sister, and I would decamp to Brooklyn to hang out with my grandparents for a seder and a sleepover. Then the next morning my grandma would make my mom Matzah Brei, and I ignored it. I still can see my mom standing in the little eat-in kitchen in her nightgown eating the egg soaked crispy matzah while I lay splayed in front of the living room tv watching Dave Price do the weather.
I like eggs and I like matzah but the combined two did not pass my lips then. I was a Matzah purist, preferring to slather the bland unleavened crackers with whipped cream cheese and jelly. I could eat sheets and sheets of Matzah this way, I still can.
But salty, eggy, crispy Matzah Brei has also entered my universe. I have to thank my fairy godmother Ruth Reichl for that. The former New York Times restaurant critic and queen in my universe re-introduced me to Matzah Brei in her book “Garlic & Sapphires”
This woman eats at the best restaurants in New York City but she prefers to make this basic meal at home with her son. A simple dish of scrambled eggs and almost soggy matzah that is crisped up in a hot pan of melted butter and showered with salt.
The beginning of that sentence is doesn’t much for Matzah Brei but by the end you have to be craving it. Butter and salt, hello taste buds!
To further set you back from wanting to eat this dish: the matzah gets soggy because you crumble a few pieces and run it under cold water. Yum, I don’t know any other situation where you willingly eat soggy crackers. But if you don’t take the matzah for a trip under the faucet then it can’t soak up the egg. And you probably like other egg-soaked things. French Toast anyone?
And just like French Toast, this Matzah Brei is cooked in a hot pool of melted butter until the eggs are set and the Matzah pieces are crispy around the edges and creamy in the middle.
- 2 Sheets of Matzah
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Salt, to taste
- Break apart the Matzah sheets in small pieces into a large colander or sieve.
- Run cool water over the pieces for 10 seconds to moisten but not sog the Matzah.
- Transfer the wet matzah, including crumbs, to a large bowl and mix with beaten eggs and ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Let the Matzah soak up the egg while you preheat your pan.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium, medium-high heat.
- Add the Matzah mixture and stir constantly until the eggs are cooked and the edges of the Matzah brown and crisp. This should take about 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and how much you’re cooking.
- I like to add an additional sprinkle of salt when the Matzah is finished.