Matzoh Brie

April 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

matzobrie4

Happy Passover!

To celebrate and test out a new recipe, I decided to make matzoh brie (rhymes with “sky”).  Matzoh, for those of you who haven’t eaten that 10″-long square of cracker-like flat bread, is unleavened bread.

To provide a bit of history: Matzoh is eaten during the eight days of Passover (seven if you’re in Israel) as a way of commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.  In Exodus, the biblical story, God inflicts ten plagues upon the Egyptians before the Pharaoh releases Israeli slaves.  The tenth plague is the killing of all firstborn sons.  The Hebrews are told to mark their doors with lamb blood; upon seeing this, the Angel of Death passes over (“Passover”) their homes and leaves the Hebrew firstborns unharmed.  This incident pushes Pharaoh over the edge and he frees the slaves.  The Hebrews leave quickly before he can change his mind (which, incidentally, he does, but he’s too late).

The Hebrews didn’t have time to wait for bread to rise; they fled Egypt carrying the flat bread on their backs.  So during Passover today, as a way of commemoration, we don’t eat any leavened bread.  We stick with matzoh.

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Up until yesterday afternoon, my exploration of matzoh went no further than the box in the cupboard and the meal (ground up matzoh) that I mix with eggs to make matzoh ball soup.  But I’ve heard good things about matzoh brie from a few friends.  I also read this hilarious short essay by Melissa Clark and she convinced me I had to give this recipe a shot.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to making matzoh brie.  If you tell a brie aficionado that you’ve tasted this dish, their first question will invariably be: was it savory?  Or was it sweet?  Matzo brie is essentially soaked matzo and egg (either set or scrambled).  But what you choose to put in the dish changes the whole picture.  Did you add apples and honey?  Or mushrooms and onions?  The sky’s the limit for matzoh brie variations.  Feel free to toss in your favorite ingredients and dabble.  We’ve got eight days of matzoh ahead of us; frankly, we could try a slew of different combos!

Ingredients (for one):
1 matzoh
1 egg
1 leek
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves
2 leafy greens (chard, collard green)
basil, chopped
sea salt, pepper

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Methods:

1.  Wash and chop vegetable/fruit ingredients.  (If using leeks, chop first, then separate rings in a bowl of cool water and let dirt settle to the bottom before cooking.)  Whip egg and set aside.

2.  In a small pot, boil a few cups of water.  This water will be used to pour over the matzoh.  There are two schools of thought about this: Some soak the matzoh until soggy; others pour boiling water over the matzoh to soften slightly.  I chose the later method.  But if you choose to soak the matzo, you’ll probably want to soak in hot water for about 1 minute.  Then, before transferring to the skillet, make sure you squeeze all the water from the matzoh so it’s very dry.

3.  Meanwhile, back at the skillet, add garlic and leafy greens.  Cook another minute or two.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.

4.  Add matzo to the pan (with a bit more butter, if desired) and cook until slightly crisped.  Then add egg.  I chose to scramble because I think that’s easier; alternatively, you could take more of an omelet route.  At the last minute, stir in coarsely chopped basil leaves.

Diet Notes: Nut-free

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