Former NYT food critic Ruth Reichl’s memoirs, including Garlic & Sapphires and Comfort Me with Apples, are some of my favorite reads ever. That said, I don’t often try out the recipes she includes in them – they’re really just not the kind of stuff I usually make (Dacquoise, Miang Kam, etc). When I read her recipe for what she calls her ultimate comfort food, Matzo Brei (rhymes with “fry”), though, I had to try it: I am all about the comfort food these days.
Matzo brei is basically just matzos scrambled into eggs (it’s often called “Jewish french toast”), but it’s hearty, simple, and yep…comforting.
MATZO BREI (Adapted from Ruth Reichl)
What you need:
4 eggs (best-quality)
Salt to taste (I like about a teaspoon)
3/4 stick butter
What you do:
1. Crumble matzos into a sieve.
2. Run the sieve under cold tap water until crumbs are evenly moistened (10-15 seconds). Don’t worry if they seem really wet; you just don’t want to get them to the point where they disintegrate entirely.
3. Shake off water and pour moistened matzo into a large-ish bowl. Add eggs and salt to taste (I like a lot, but take it easy with the salt at this point; you can always add more later). Stir eggs into matzo gently, with a fork, until mixed fairly well.
4. Heat butter (I know it sounds like a lot of butter, and it is…but that’s what makes it taste good) in a large pan until foamy, then add matzo/egg mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until eggs are cooked through and matzo is just a touch crispy. I sometimes find it tough to get the matzo to crisp; that’s fine. It tastes good anyway.
Alternative 1: Saute some chopped onions and mushrooms in a separate pan and add to the egg mixture after it’s mostly cooked through for a savory twist.
Alternative 2: Instead of the salt, add 1/2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and a dash of vanilla; serve with maple syrup or a little honey.
Last image via Boston.com.