Each year, the morning after our Passover Seder, most of us would still be too full to even consider breakfast. Still, my grandfather always made matzo brei (rhymes with “fry”), a classic Ashkenazic dish. Since we can’t eat leavened bread or fermented grain products during Passover, toast and cereal were off the table for breakfast. But this cross between a frittata and a pancake—unleavened, of course—became a special, Passover-only treat. My grandfather would break the matzos into pieces, soak in water just until soft, then fry with eggs and lots of butter. My sister and I promptly covered our portions in syrup (this was our only stand-in for pancakes, after all) while my parents ate theirs plain with fruit on the side.
There are two staunchly devoted camps when it comes to matzo brei: the savory and the sweet. The savory camp will often add caramelized onions and fry in chicken fat, while the sweet camp makes a custardy brei and tops with cinnamon-sugar. I wanted to play up the sweet brei I remembered from childhood, garnished here like a Dutch Baby with a squeeze of lemon and confectioner’s sugar. During a week of dry, plain matzo, it’s what I crave.
11/2 cups 2% milk, divided 4 plain matzos, broken into 2-inch pieces 1 teaspoon lemon rind 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3 large eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon butter 2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar 4 lemon wedges
1. Heat 11/4 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Remove from heat. Add matzo to pan; Let stand 2 minutes until slightly softened. Drain in a colander, pressing gently.
2. Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk, rind, vanilla, salt, and eggs in medium bowl; add matzo, stirring gently.
3. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture, pressing gently into a single layer. Cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert egg mixture onto plate. Carefully slide egg mixture back into pan. Cook an addition 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Slide egg mixture onto plate. Cut into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with lemon wedges.
SERVES 4 (serving size: 2 wedges).
Looking for more delicious Passover recipes? Pin some of our most popular Passover favorites to your board, or find a tempting Seder sweet you can serve at your celebration. If you're from a combination family, get a menu that celebrates both Easter and Passover favorites.
Photos by Johnny Autry