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Author Notes: For most of my life, matzoh 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 a few years ago, I decided to teach my goyish boyfriend (now husband) how to make 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, matzoh, and fat, offered a sublimity beyond the sum of its parts.
My boyfriend 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 matzoh brei after the Passover leftovers have been finished, let alone an Eastern Canadian-born wasp. When I thought of him at Safeway picking up beer, eggs, and Manishevitz matzoh, I couldn't help but kvell.
When you make a recipe so often, you start to understand it in a new, more intimate way. I think I've earned the right to add caramelized onions to the very short list of additions which are permissible in matzoh brei. —linzarella
small yellow onion, thinly sliced
pieces Manischewitz thin salted matzoh
tablespoon creme fraiche (optional but good)
tablespoons butter or oil, divided
salt & pepper
- Caramelize the onions in one tablespoon of butter, very slowly, over low heat. Should take around 45 minutes. You can do this ahead of time. If you're taking them out of the fridge, heat them up slightly. They should be warm but not hot when you begin the recipe.
- Break up the sheets of matzoh into bite-sized pieces, put into a bowl, and cover with warm water for about two minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Beat together the eggs, salt and pepper, and optional creme fraiche in a large bowl. Add the onions and the drained matzoh and stir to combine well.
- In a 10-12" pan (preferably nonstick), melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over med-high heat. When it's hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, add the matzoh-egg-onion mixture, press into a flat pancake shape, and cook until the bottom starts to brown.
- When the bottom is well-browned, use a spatula to break the brei into pizza-like sections and flip them one at a time. Cook the second side briefly until it, too, browns, then immediately divide into plates, sprinkle with a little more salt and some freshly ground pepper, and eat!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Jewish-Inspired Recipe