Monday, 5 March 2012

The Definitive Matzo Brei

We all think we're right. In every decision we make and every action we take, we always think we're right (sounds a bit like the opening lyrics to a song by Sting - a man with more than a slight whiff of self-righteousness hovering around him and his yoga mat).

My wife Mrs Ribeye has, in her opinion, never lost an argument between us (even in the event that it turns out that I may be 'technically' right on a point, I either expressed it wrongly, or 'was rude', and therefore wrong). My sister, Roxanne, is a regular know-it-all. My father, Mr Ribeye Sr has turned being right into an art form. My mum, Mrs Ribeye Sr thinks knows her recipes were delivered by God, straight to the dining table, with her hands simply acting as a conduit.

As for me? I cannot eat matzo brei unless I make it. Or at the very outside, if my mum did. But only if I am desperate and I cannot use my hands for some reason.

Matzo brei is essentially scrambled eggs with mixed-in cracker pieces. If you go to a Jewish diner in New York or Miami (probably the only places you'll find matzo brei in a restaurant in the entire world), you may find this dish on the menu. You may even find people ordering it, and you may see people eating it. But if you carefully listen in, what you won't miss is the moaning about how wrong the recipe was. The recipient may have secretly loved eating it, but there will always be something about his matzo brei that wasn't quite right: 'It was too hard/sloppy/mashed-up/crispy/eggy/dry/salty/sweet/why were there f***ing onions in it???'

So, here is the definitive recipe. Simple, savoury (you want sweet? Go order French toast!) and definitely no onions. Follow my method to the letter, to achieve the perfect consistency. With matzo brei, it's all about the texture.

Passover is coming up, so boxes of matzos are 2 for £1.50 at my local supermarket - which means that because I got crazy and bought four boxes, matzo brei will be on the breakfast/lunch menu a fair amount over the coming weeks. 75 pence per serving for this poor man's feast, until the matzo sale is over - then the cost will rise a little bit.

Serves 1


4-5 matzos
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of milk
Large knob of butter
Pinches of salt and pepper

Run a matzo under the tap, on both sides, until wet. Put it on a plate and repeat with the other three matzos until you have a stack of four. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Pick up the matzo stack and break it in half, then half again, and again, until you have 2cm square pieces. Place the matzo pieces in the bowl with the egg and milk, and mix together until well coated. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. In the meantime, on a moderate heat, melt the butter in a frying pan. Empty the entire bowl of the eggy-matzo mixture into the pan, and level it out. Keep turning the mixture in the pan until the egg has set, but is in no way crispy or fried like an omelette - you are looking for a translucent texture. Season to taste and serve immediately.

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