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Matzoh Brei Mope

April 26, 2016

As incredible as it sounds, if you are overweight and want to slim down, The Whopper Diet totally works. That’s the weight loss plan that involves eating nothing but Whopper sandwiches.

How can something so full of fat, calories, carbs, and sodium lead to weight loss? Easy. The diet calls for you to eat only that one thing. But you can eat as much as you want. And really, it can be anything. Big Macs, pepperoni pizza, duck confit and foie gras stuffed chicken thighs, whatever.

The idea is that if you only eat that one thing and only that thing, you’ll soon get so sick of it, all you’ll consume is the bare minimum needed to survive.

I mention this because Passover presents a similar situation. There is nothing inherently bad about matzoh, it’s just that when you are compelled to eat it for eight days, it’s hard to get excited about the stuff. And just like the first matzoh of the season is delicious, so is the first matzoh brei.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take any pleasure in telling you about this traditional food.

Matzoh brei, at its core, is simply a combination of matzoh and eggs. However, just like matzoh ball soup can be taken in several different directions, the same is true of matzoh brei.

It can be sweet, like french toast is sweet. Sure, it’s harder to get matzoh to soak up an egg batter, but french toast is really just hard bread combined with eggs.

It can be savory, like chilaquiles are savory. Of course, matzot aren’t as flavorful as tortillas, but those hard crisp edges soften just as nicely and take on whatever flavors you throw at them, just like in this classic Mexican dish.

Matzoh brei can be eggy or it can be dry, based on the ratio of eggs to matzoh. It can also be chunky or smooth, depending on how thoroughly you soak the matzoh beforehand. The end result is really driven by either personal preference or familial tradition.

The version I typically make resembles French toast more than anything else. Really, it’s more of a breakfast galette or frittata that takes on the shape of the pan. My ideal ratio is one and half eggs for one piece of matzoh. Which really means preparing two matzot with three eggs.

If I can’t find someone to join me, and I don’t feel like gorging, I’ll make one matzoh with one egg and just deal with it being a bit drier.

As far as I’m concerned, the real trick to making great matzoh brei is the softening of the matzoh itself. You want it to crumble, but not lose all of its structure entirely. So I run each sheet under cold running water for an irresponsible amount of time. With the water still running, I crack it in half.

Then I expose the cracked surfaces to the running water, making sure not to lose any precious soggy pieces down the drain. Once fully soft, I crack those two pieces in half so that I have four. Each piece has a brand new exposed cracked edge.

I repeat this process as many times as possible until I just can’t hold onto the pieces.

The resulting soggy mass should still have visible signs that it was once matzoh. You can still break off small corners and hear a muted cracking sound coming from deep within the core of the cracker.

Then, it’s just adding a beaten egg, a pinch of salt, and frying the whole thing in butter. I like to top mine with real maple syrup. Others choose jam. Some who opt for a more savory experience prefer to use sour cream and applesauce.

There are a handful of iconoclasts out there who will eat matzoh brei with ketchup.

Of course, the secret to making truly delicious matzoh brei is no different than the secret to making truly delicious anything, and that’s an unholy amount of fat and salt. So if you aren’t dieting, add a tablespoon of cream into the egg batter, and fry it gently in plenty of butter, making sure to season it aggressively.

Me? I’m just looking forward to getting oatmeal and granola back into my life.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dave S permalink
    April 28, 2016 7:23 pm

    I thought Matzoh Brei was more like migas.

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