When I think of matzoh brei, I imagine Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron sitting at a table, arguing about the “right” way to do it. One argues vehemently for jam, the other is resolute about salt. One knows for sure soggy is the only way, the other stands firmly behind crunchy.
How to prepare matzoh brei is one of those food questions that brings out strong opinions, like who makes the best pastrami in the city (though we know they’re looking in the wrong city), or whose grandma makes the best babka. These inarguable opinions are rooted in childhood nostalgia. And when it comes to childhood nostalgia for matzoh brei, I have none.
Matzoh brei is a breakfast food that’s a cross between scrambled eggs, French toast, and something unlike both of those, because neither has hard wheat crackers mixed in. I was first introduced to it by the same grade school friend who taught me about lox and Thanksgiving candied yams. And like those two, I thought it was super weird, and also delicious.
Because I don’t come from a heritage of matzoh brei, I don’t have to decide between sweet or salty: I choose both. Unfettered by tradition, I go with simple flavors and quality ingredients: lots of butter, farmer’s market eggs if i have them, real maple syrup, Maldon salt. Something hoydel-doydel humble maintains its comfort, but picks up grown-up flavor.
I’m curious how others make it. How do you like your matzoh brei?
This is a super simple recipe, so you can go crazy with variations. A friend adds lox and dill with delicious results. I can imagine it’d be great with some of that Hebrew National beef salami that was a Passover staple in my childhood home, or, well, sausage. Sometimes I fry it in olive oil instead of butter, mirroring the amazing olive oil/maple syrup flavor combo of the best granola in the world. But most times, simple is best.
1 Tbs milk
3 thin slivers of butter
Beat the egg with the milk in a small bowl. Run the matzah under water to moisten on both sides. Break into bite-sized pieces, and mix into egg mixture. Let sit for a few minutes.
Heat a sliver of butter in a small non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the matzah mixture to the pan, and stir over heat to make sure all bits are cooked through. After a couple minutes, add the second sliver of butter and mix through.
Serve on a plate, with a third sliver of butter, drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with salt.