For most of my life, matzo brei was something I ate once a year, on the day after Passover, when my dad made it for the whole family. But when I had leftover matzoh after passover last year, I decided to teach my goyish boyfriend how to make matzoh brei. I made it for him the way my dad always made it for me: simply, with no garnishes but salt and pepper. I inherited my dad's scorn for any variations on this formula. Powdered sugar, vegetables, herbs, and "southwestern brei" with salsa are all verboten. I made my boyfriend promise to honor the integrity of the recipe, which, when made with nothing more than eggs, matzo, and fat, offered a sublimity beyond the sum of its parts.
He loved it so much that he made it a mainstay in his diet. He makes it for himself for either breakfast or dinner most days—sometimes breakfast and dinner. I've never heard of someone making matzo brei after the Passover leftovers have been finished, let alone an Eastern Canadian-born wasp. When I think of him at Safeway picking up beer, eggs, and Manishevitz matzoh, I can't help but kvell.
Anyway, leave it to him to put bacon, the ultimate treyf, in such a quintessential Jewish dish. When he first made it for me I scoffed, but when I tasted it I couldn't deny that it was even better than the original. —linzarella
sheets plain salted matzoh
eggs, depending on how eggy you like your brei
strips bacon, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper
cream, creme fraiche, or milk (optional)
In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it's crispy and the fat has rendered. While it's cooking, beat together the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Break up the matzoh into small pieces, put in a large bowl, and cover with warm water. Soak for 30-60 seconds, then drain. Combine the beaten eggs with the drained matzoh and a healthy pinch of salt. If using cream, add it to the mixture.
Add the matzoh-egg mixture to the pan with the bacon. I like to alternate between breaking up the pieces and mixing everything around with pressing down with the back of a spatula to help it brown nicely. When it is nicely browned all over, but still somewhat soft in the middle, turn it over onto a plate. Serve with lots and lots of fresh ground pepper.