Saturday, April 26, 2008

The bread of affliction
















It's Passover, at least for another day or two. I've been meaning to make some Passover food for the blog for the past week, but didn't get around to it until today. Although I don't keep kosher for Passover, I have a lot of affection for many Passover dishes. When I lived at home, my family and I would always go to seder at my cousins' house in New Jersey, and we ate very well: chicken-matzoh ball soup; tender long-cooked brisket; sweet and sour meatballs; various vegetable kugels; and, best of all, the desserts. Oh, the desserts! Light-as-a-feather sponge cake, sweet and lemony and towering high over everything else on the table; dense, chewy vanilla meringues studded with bittersweet chocolate chips; flourless chocolate cake heavy with ground hazelnuts.

And then, of course, there's matzoh. It's not very good, and it's not supposed to be--eating it is supposed to remind us Jews of our flight through the desert all those thousands of years ago. I always think it's funny when people say how much they like matzoh, because those people are never Jewish. If you had to eat the stuff growing up, it pretty much loses its novelty.

That said, there are certainly lots of applications for matzoh that I think are delicious. It's hard to argue with a matzoh spread thickly with salted butter, for instance. I like it piled high with haroset, an apple-walnut chutney that's a traditional component of the seder plate. And my very favorite matzoh recipe is matzoh brei. Matzoh brei is, very basically, a kosher for Passover version of French toast. You break up the matzoh and soak it in beaten egg, then fry it up in a pan and eat it either sweet (with honey, maple syrup, jam, or cinnamon sugar) or savory (with butter and salt). It's simple, homey, and satisfying--and with coffee, it's the perfect breakfast. In fact, that's what I just finished eating. Here's how I made it (serves one):

First, break up two matzohs into bite-size pieces. Place them in a colander and run water over them for 10-15 seconds, until they're moistened:















Next, beat an egg in a bowl and add the matzoh. Mix it well and let sit for about 5 minutes, so the matzoh soaks up the egg:











In the meantime, heat up a small pan and grease it generously with butter. Add the matzoh mixture and press it into the pan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes, flipping once, until the "pancake" is browned on both sides:











If you're a savory kind of person, eat the matzoh brei with more butter and some salt. If you're like me, though, you'll want to enjoy it with jam:

Breakfast is served.

P.S. Here's an excellent article on the merits of sweet vs. savory matzoh brei from the New York Times.

5 comments:

Gideon said...

actually, even after years of keeping kosher for passover, I still love matzoh. I wish it was easier to get all year round.

sydney said...

i haven't had matzoh brei since my childhood days when my mom's brei was not flavor inspiring at all.
but now that i have been reminded that i can eat with jams or honey i will give it another try
probably next year truth be told but i will admit i ate about 5 full sheets of streits matzoh with breakstone slightly salted whipped butter and it was glorious.
went straight to my thighs but i couldn't stop my self
there certainly is something about matzoh

Gideon said...

and especially a nice little sandwich with charosets and horseradish--what could be better?

Lauren said...

"Just call me the matzoh man" -Gideon W.P. Steinberg

Anonymous said...

i haven't had matzoh brei since my childhood days sbobet when my mom's brei was not flavor inspiring at all.
but now that i have been reminded that i can eat with jams or honey i will give it another try
probably next year truth be told but i will admit i ate about 5 full sheets of streits matzoh with ibcbet breakstone slightly salted whipped butter and it was glorious.