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Chive Matzo Brei for a Pre-Passover Brunch

April 17, 2011

Chive Matzo Brei

Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C., I  was surrounded by a large Jewish community. Every Sunday as we drove off to Chinese school my Jewish friends and neighbors would be walking to Hebrew school. When my friends turned 13 I had the pleasure of attending their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, which I might add was a real treat because not only was there a beautiful ceremony there was always an epic party and amazing traditional Jewish food. But sadly, even though I was exposed to the Jewish culture I feel like I know little to nothing about their cuisine.

This year I decided to do a learn a few Passover recipes, I’ve always been curious about what the dietary restrictions were for Passover. In short, I found that the most significant observance relating to Passover involves the removal of chametz from the house. This signifies the Jews leaving Egypt in a hurry and not having the time to let bread rise, it also symbolizes the removal of arrogance from their souls. Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains, white, rye, barley, oats and spelt, that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water. The grain that can be eaten during Passover is called matzo, it is a unleavened bread made from flour and water and cooked very quickly. I was surprised by the versatility of matzo, it comes is a variety of textures for cooking: matzo flour (finely ground for cakes and cookies), matzo meal (coarsely ground, used as bread crumb substitute and for making matzo ball soup), matzo fearful (little chunks, a noodle or bread substitute), and full-sized matzo sheets.

You can find prepared matzo sheets at your local grocery store in the kosher section. I tried 2 different brands: Streit’s Lightly Salted Matzo and Manischewitz Unsalted Matzo. I preferred the Streit’s matzo sheets, it had good flavor and a nice crispy crunch, without the cardboard texture.

It was apparent to me that matzo is used in almost every Passover recipe, so I wanted make a dish that highlighted this crispy cracker for my Passover brunch. One of my favorite preparation of matzo is fried matzo also known as matzo brie. It is a common dish Jewish kids grew up eating at home and one that I had many times at my friends’ house on a Sunday morning after a sleepover. The preparation is simple: the matzo is dampened, broken into smaller pieces mixed with eggs and fried. However, you can add a variety of other ingredients to make it more flavorful such as onions, shallots, spinach, asparagus or chives. I used chives. because they are a sweeter, and milder version of an onion so it’s not as pungent. I love sauteed chives in my scrambled eggs, so why not add it to my Matzo brie.

Matzo Brei
adapted from Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Swartz
serves 2

3 tbsp chives (chopped thin)
3 matzo sheets
8 cups boiling water
4 eggs
2 tbsp butter
1/4 teasp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Wash the chives, dice thin and reserve.

2. Into a colander set in your sink, break the matzo into 1-inch pieces. Very slowly, pour the boiling water over the matzo, wetting it down, then let it stand for a few minutes to drain and plump up.

3. In a bowl, beat the eggs together with the salt. Add the wet matzo and mix well.

4. In a 10-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Swirl the butter around the skillet, and add the chives. Immediately turn the heat down to medium-low and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Spread the chives evenly on the skillet and add the egg-matzo mixture. *Note: Slow cooking the eggs gives them a more custard-like consistency and will prevent them from over cooking

5. When the bottom of the mixture starts to set, break it up by pushing them apart with a spatula. Once the bottom is cooked, gently flip the matzo-mixture over. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side, until the matzo brei is evenly cooked and is as moist (or dry) as you like.

6. Serve hot, with some freshly ground pepper.

Printable Recipe

Matzo Brei and Avocado Spread

I  like my matzo brie nice and browned so I let it cook for a few minutes longer. It had a great bite to it, the texture is like a cross between a frittata and scrambled eggs. This dish took all of 20 minutes to prepare and cook, so you really have no excuse of not trying this out. If you don’t like chives, substitute it with some sauteed onions, or shallots. And as a little extra side, I made an Israeli avocado spread to go with some toasted salt and pepper matzo. (Fret not, I will post this recipe later this week! )

Cheers & until next time Happy Passover!


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 17, 2011 6:55 pm

    I love matzo! I used to eat it a lot as a kid instead of chips, which there weren’t that many of in those days anyway. Never knew the story though or used it in cooking. Great post and recipe! 🙂

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