My Father's Matzoh Brei Cake
Most of my fondest memories with my father relate to food in one way, or another. There was the time in middle school when Wishbone came out with dressings in spray bottles, "salad sprtizers" they were called. On one of our weekly Stop & Shop trips, I begged for one. My father, always a conservative man, indicated he could easily make me one at home. The next day, our refrigerator was stocked: a huge windex bottle had been emptied and filled with none other than creamy caesar, staining the sides as I looked at it quizzically. I still laugh infectiously whenever I tell friends this story.
I think about his signature dish "seafood combination". A staple in our household growing up: a saucy combination of shrimps, scallops, mussels, endless tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. The most fantastic broth to dip a crusty piece of bread into. My brother and I used to laugh at how frequently dad made this, but nowadays, I'd eat it 24/7 if I could afford to.
Another recipe he made that I didn't appreciate as a kid was his babka. This mysterious cake was confusing. It was composed of mushy matzoh, mixed with eggs, oil, salt and pepper. It certainly didn't sound appetizing to a teenager. I tried to tell friends about it, confused by this passover-savory-cake-thingamabob. They all said it was just matzoh brei in a different form.
I caved in at 18, tasting a few bites of the squishy, salty, eggy matzoh cake and have been hooked ever since. It is the only other way I like matzoh, besides when it's smothered in cream cheese. It's beauty and secret lies in the form. Rather than cooking the brei like scrambled eggs, you plop the matzoh into a red-hot skillet, and pat it down to form a cake, resulting in a creation akin to quiche. It's perfect for entertaining during Passover because you can make it in advance, it reheats easily, and it's presentable. Give it a try this week!
Wishing all of my Jewish friends and followers a happy Passover! Share your favorite kosher for passover foods in the comments below.
My Father's Matzoh Brei
8 sheets of regular or egg matzoh
generous sprinkle of salt + pepper
frying oil of your choice (I use avocado oil)
Break your matzoh into medium-size pieces by hand and place them into a large, shallow bowl. Pour in enough boiling water to submerge the matzoh, and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Strain the matzoh in a colander, then lay it onto the kitchen towel and wring out any extra water. Place it back into the dry bowl, and add eggs + salt + pepper. If you like, at this stage you could also add fried onions + mushrooms or ground chicken. Totally optional, but delicious nonetheless. Mix everything together well.
Heat up a 9-10 inch skillet (I prefer cast iron) with 3 tbs of oil (olive, avocado, canola), and let it get smoking hot. Then add the matzoh mixture and turn down the heat to medium-high. Cook for 15 minutes.
In the words of dad, "now come the acrobatics": place a plate over the skillet and carefully flip the cake over, crispy side up. Add a few more spoons of oil, and then slide the raw side back into the pan to cook. Leave this on the heat for about 10 more minutes, or until the bottom is golden and crispy.
Carefully present the finished matzoh brei cake on a large, circular platter. Slice it up like you would a pie, and enjoy! For toppings, I like a fat dollop of butter or goat cheese, a sprinkle of salt and a droopy spoonful of honey.
photos cannot be shared, downloaded or repurposed for any reason without written credit to Jane Poretsky + Be Like Family