To my grandmother, matzo brei isn’t just special-occasion food. It’s special, period, be it for breakfast or lunch or dinner, be it during Passover or many months past it, when matzo itself can be less than easy to find. She makes it all the time, “all the time!” she repeated. “It’s one of my favorite meals.” And me too.
Everyone in my family makes matzo brei differently, including me. My grandma prefers oil, my mom and I like butter. My grandma soaks her matzo, my mom and I rinse it under the faucet. My grandma and mom like a one-to-one matzo-to-egg ratio, while I prefer to double up on the latter, for something that blurs the line between pancake and omelet. I also favor whole-wheat matzo, for its malty nuttiness. And I brown the butter for the exact same reason. What seems like a subtle, simple step—one that requires no additional active time—makes all the difference. Many people top their matzo brei with salt and call it a day. And some sleepy mornings I do just that. But other mornings, I opt for maple syrup and cultured butter. Or a sunny egg and snipped chives. Or berry jam and sour cream. Or a squiggle of mayo and shimmy of hot sauce. Because it’s halfway between sweet and savory, matzo brei is the sort of blank canvas you can dress up with whatever you want. If you celebrate Passover, I’d love to know how you and your family make matzo brei—tell me all about it in the comments below. —Emma Laperruque
Rinse the matzo under cold running water for about 15 seconds per side until saturated. Using your hands, crumble it into a bowl. Add the eggs, salt, and 2 teaspoons of water. Beat with a fork until the eggs are smooth.
Set a 10-inch (or similar) nonstick skillet over medium heat and heat the butter. Watch it closely—also a nice opportunity to stretch or focus on your breathing or drink a glass of water—until it just starts to turn golden brown and smells like toasting nuts. Pour in the matzo-egg mixture and spread as much as possible, encompassing all of the brown butter, then leave it in the shape of a big pancake. Cook for about 1 minute, until the top has only a few wet spots left and the bottom is golden, then flip with all the confidence in the world. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until bouncy to the touch. Slide onto a plate. Eat as is, or top with whatever the heck you want.