Making Matzoh Brie

You can prepare matzoh brie in several different ways, from fluffy matzoh omelets to crisp French toast-style to batter fried like pancakes. Like most breakfast food mavens, matzoh brie lovers tend to claim there is only one correct way to make it (theirs, of course). But I have found that personal preferences aside, different flavorings are often better-suited to one method of preparation than another: Tender, delicate artichoke hearts, for example, are best savored in a matzoh brie that is light and fluffy, not thin and crisp. And I think it is easier to transform a homey, savory matzoh brie into a refined side dish or light entree when it is presented whole, like a giant frittata, at more formal meals.

All else being equal, my favorite is the combination matzoh brie, known as scrambled egg-style: a jumble of buttery crisp, well-flavored, chewy, and creamy egg-rich pieces--all in one mouthful.

When I merely want to soften the matzoh, I use cold water. Hot water leaches out the matzoh flavor. When I want a liquid like apple juice to impart flavor as well as soften, I often warm it first so it is better absorbed.

1. For Either Fluffy or Combination (Scrambled Egg-Style) Matzoh Brie
Soak the matzoh in cold water until soft but not mushy, and gently press out moisture with your hands, or place in a colander and press with the back of a spoon. The less liquid it holds, the more egg it will absorb and the fluffier it will be. Let the matzoh drink in the beaten eggs for about 10 minutes or longer to produce the fluffiest matzoh brie. (The egg may or may not be completely absorbed by the matzoh; it will not matter.) Use either a large, heavy, well-seasoned skillet or a nonstick one (nonstick would be preferable if the matzoh brie contains dried fruit, such as raisins or prunes). Add the matzoh mixture all at once to the hot, greased pan. Spread it out evenly, and let it cook over medium heat until it is set and golden on the bottom and around the edges. Now you have a choice.

For attractive matzoh brie resembling a frittata, turn the matzoh in one piece. Slip a spatula around the edges and underneath the matzoh brie to loosen it. Use the spatula to help you slide the matzoh brie out onto a platter larger than the skillet, uncooked side up. If needed, add more butter or oil to the skillet. Then, gently holding onto the edges of the matzoh brie with your fingertips, invert the platter over the skillet so that the matzoh brie drops into the skillet, uncooked side down. Another method for flipping the matzoh brie in one piece, if your skillet is not too heavy: After you’ve loosened the matzoh brie, remove the skillet from the heat. Place the platter face down over the skillet. With one hand holding onto the skillet handle and the other hand placed on the center of the platter, quickly flip them over so that the matzoh brie lands on the platter, cooked side up. Return the skillet to the heat, adding more butter or oil, if needed. Wait until it’s sizzling again before sliding the matzoh brie back into the skillet, still cooked side up. Cook the second side until it is lightly browned. Or, for a less refined look, simply cut the matzoh brie into halves or quarters and then turn to brown each section. Cook until still fluffy inside or more well-done, as you prefer.

Known as scrambled egg-style, your alternative is matzoh brie that is homelier, but more varied in texture and taste. After the bottom is set, break the matzoh brie into sections with the spatula. Keep lifting and turning the sections as they brown until you have a superb melange of lightly crisp, chewy, moist, and fluffy pieces. Don’t overcook the matzoh brie or it will be dry and hard.

2. For Crisp, French Toast-Style Matzoh Brie
Soak the matzoh just long enough to soften it, then gently but thoroughly press out the liquid with your hands, or place in a colander and press with the back of a spoon. For the crispest matzoh brie, moisten both sides of matzoh under the cold water tap, then dry between paper towels. Dip the matzoh into beaten eggs just until thoroughly coated; don’t let it soak. Heat a generously greased, heavy, well-seasoned, preferably cast-iron skillet, rather than a nonstick one. Add the matzoh all at once to the hot, sizzling pan, and spread it out in a thin layer. (If necessary, fry in batches: if you fry too much at once, it won’t be crisp.) Fry over medium to medium-high heat until browned on the bottom. Now decide whether you want to keep the matzoh brie in one piece--it will be more attractive, certainly, but rather tricky to do, perhaps more trouble than this homey dish calls for. To keep the matzoh in one piece, try using two spatulas to carefully flip it. Or turn it like a frittata, that is, slide it out onto a platter, and then invert the platter over the skillet (see “For attractive matzoh brie resembling a frittata” above). Or cook it in batches in a smaller skillet, so it will be easier to flip. If looks don’t count, simply cut it in half or in quarters and turn each piece, using two spatulas.

3. For Fried Pancake-Like Matzoh Brie
Soak the matzoh in cold water until it is quite soft, almost falling apart. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands, or place in a colander and press with the back of a spoon. Beat the matzoh with the eggs in a large bowl until well combined. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into the hot, greased skillet, flatten slightly with a spatula, and fry over medium to medium-high heat, flipping once, until browned on both sides.

Click to print this page

(or select File > Print)


Site Design (c) Jayne Cohen 2008

Designed by TheaterLoop