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Matzo Brei Is a Passover Breakfast That Should Be a Year-Round Meal
Anything goes with this infinitely customizable dish.
03-26-2021
Mari Levine

If you’ve ever wanted another way to harness the transformative power of butter or schmaltz, you should make matzo brei.

If you’re always on the lookout for quick, comforting meals, you should make matzo brei.

If you’ve ever thought scrambled eggs were a bit too soft, you should make matzo brei.

If you think anything made with matzo tastes bland and lean, you should make matzo brei.

I’ll stop there. There are so many reasons to make this traditional Passover breakfast and just as many ways to make it.

Matzo brei is Yiddish for “fried matzo.” (The “brei” conveniently rhymes with “fry.”) The requisite steps go something like this: soften matzo, mix with eggs, then fry in fat. It’s a no-recipe recipe that you don’t need bubbe-level kitchen skills to pull off.

I was a latecomer to the dish. Growing up, I thought the best way to consume matzo was slathered in butter and sprinkled with kosher salt. That’s still one of my preferred ways to eat it, but it wasn’t until I tasted matzo brei for the first time—in college, when a friend cooked it for me on a hot plate in her dorm room—that I realized matzo’s true potential.

One of the best things about this Passover staple is that it’s infinitely customizable. You can cook it in a pancake-like single layer or stir it together like a scramble. You can make it sweet or savory, and depending on which you choose, serve it with the appropriate condiments: hot sauce, maple syrup, jam, applesauce, sour cream, or ketchup.

It can also serve as the foundation for more exciting riffs. Cookbook author Joan Nathan has a chilaquiles-inspired version and chef Alon Shaya has served a rendition with orange blossom water and pomegranate molasses at his eponymous New Orleans restaurant. Anything goes!

Everyone has their own way of making it, but when I make matzo brei, I keep it simple and savory, and cook it like a scramble. If you’re thinking about trying it at home—and I hope you are!—here’s how I do it.

  • To serve two people, I use two sheets of matzo and three eggs.
  • When it comes to softening the matzo, it’s common to rinse the sheets under running water or soak them in milk. I prefer to do it right in the eggs. I break the matzo into 1-inch pieces into a bowl with the eggs that I’ve whisked together and seasoned with salt and pepper. I then let that sit for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the matzo is softened but not soggy.
  • The type of fat you use makes a big difference. You can use oil, but I prefer butter or schmaltz for ultimate savoriness. And be generous with it! With so few ingredients, the fat contributes a lot of flavor, in addition to delivering the “brei” that the name promises.
  • The one additional ingredient I always use is onions—chopped and softened in some butter before adding the egg-matzo combo to the skillet. (This is also a great use for leftover caramelized onions. Or caramelized onion jam.)
  • I also use fresh herbs when I have them. Dill and chives are my favorite.
  • Remember to season liberally with salt and pepper! One of the main ingredients of matzo brei is still matzo, after all.

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