It's Passover time! The best Jewish holiday, as far as I'm concerned, because it's all about food. Yes, a lot of that food consists of matzoh, but The Tribe gets pretty inventive with it. Such as, for example, the classic Pesach bruch food: matzoh brei.
Usually, matzoh brei is sort of Jewish migas, but the version below is more of a matzoh frittata. I based the recipe on Golda Meir's Matzoh Brie from the Betty's Diner Pancake Handbook (you need this book), but wanted to make it more complex and savory. I also have some variations on it below.
cheddar and green onion matzoh brei
- 5 sheets plain unsalted matzoh (or whole wheat matzoh)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 5 eggs, beaten (or 2 whole eggs and 6 egg whites)
- 1 bunch green onions or spring onions
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper
- 2-3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1-2 tbs vegetable oil or butter
- Two bowls, strainer, large oven-proof nonstick pan, silicone spatula, large platter.
Heat the oven to 375F. Put the kettle on to boil the water. Break up the matzoh in a large bowl; you want pieces which are 1" to 2" square.
Beat the eggs with the salt and set aside. Slice the onions; for this recipe we want just the green and tender green parts, not the white parts which you can reserve for other dishes. You want about one cup of thinly-sliced green onion tops.
When the water boils, pour it over the matzoh and swirl it around a bit, for around 15 seconds. Then use the strainer to pour out the water, shaking it to get most of the drips out. Mix the onions, cheese, eggs, and some fresh-ground pepper into this.
Heat the vegetable oil in the pan over high heat, until it's hot enough that an onion piece dropped in sizzles instantly. Dump in the matzoh mixture, let it cook for 30 seconds or so, then stir it, turning bits over using the spatula. Then press it into a firm cake, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook on the stovetop for 5-7 minutes, or until the edges start to brown slightly.
Put the pan in the oven. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the center is firm and shows no sign of raw egg. Loosen the brei with the spatula, then put the platter over the top of the pan and flip it out. Cut into wedges and serve.
Serves three people as a main course, or five with several other brunch items.
feta and organo matzoh brei
Make the cheddar and onion matzoh brei, as above, only swap out the cheddar cheese for 4oz crumbled feta, and the green onions for 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves.
Replace the cheddar cheese with grated dry mozzarella, plus 2 tbs grated parmigiano. Replace the green onions with 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil. Use olive oil instead of vegetable oil. When the brei is done and turned out onto the platter, paint the top of it with around 1 Tbs of balsamic vinegar.
As the recipe above. Add one additional egg. Take the cheddar out of the recipe and replace with Mexican cheese, such as asadero, "queso quesadilla", or monterrey jack. Reduce sliced green onions to 1/2 cup. Add 1 cup diced hot peppers, depending on how hot you like things:
- medium: 1 poblano pepper and 1 anaheim pepper
- hot: 1 poblano pepper, 1 jalapeño and 1 serrano peppers
- chipotle: 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo (or rehydrated), minced.
Also add: 2 seeded and diced roma tomatoes, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and 1 tsp dried oregano.