When I was a little girl, my father taught me to make matzoh brei, a treat we enjoyed only during Passover, and only for breakfast (there were rules, apparently). Matzoh brei (pronounced MAHT ZAH BRY, and spelled many ways) means fried matzoh, and it's an ethereal cross between a frittata and a noodle pudding. Beaten eggs mixed with matzoh, which bears a striking resemblance to cardboard, cooked in butter in a large frying pan, flipped to cook on both sides (a messy and often embarrassing operation), desperately in need of salt: trust me, it might not sound great, but it is the best breakfast ever. And so this recipe, which deviates from my dad's in so many ways, might be viewed as heresy. Instead, I hope you see it as the recipe that will liberate you from attempting the giant pan flip and the messy stove cleanup. Yes, this fried matzoh actually bakes in the oven. And for a twist, I caramelize onions to add to the mix. You can omit the onions and make a straightforward matzoh brei, but my husband Ted went ahead and topped his with maple syrup, and proclaimed the combination of sweet caramelized onions and maple syrup quite delightful. Matzoh is actually available year-round in the ethnic foods aisle at the grocery store. I predict you'll be making oven-baked matzoh brei more than just one week a year.
Oven-baked matzoh brei with caramelized onions
From the pantry, you'll need: eggs, onions, kosher salt, sea salt, fresh black pepper, parsley.
Serves 6; can be doubled.
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter + extra for buttering the pan
6 sheets of matzoh
6 large eggs
2 Tbsp half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
Sprinkling of sea salt
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Rub the bottom and sides of a casserole dish with butter, and set aside. I used a glass 12-cup casserole dish; you can also use a standard 9x9 inch cake pan, or anything approximately that size.
In a medium-size nonstick frying pan, add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of butter, and the sliced onions. Set the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes, until the onions are brown but not crisp. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, break the matzoh into large pieces. Fill the bowl with lukewarm water, and let the matzoh soak for 3-4 minutes (push the matzoh down under the surface of the water from time to time). Set out a dry mixing bowl, and when the matzoh is soft but hasn't yet disintegrated, squeeze the water out by handfuls, and drop the matzoh into the clean bowl. Try to squeeze all of the water out of the matzoh, or as much as you can. The matzoh will look and feel like shredded cardboard.
Empty the water out of the matzoh-soaking bowl, and in it, beat together the eggs and half-and-half. Add the parsley, kosher salt and black pepper.
Stir the matzoh into the eggs, and add the caramelized onions with all of the oil in the frying pan. Mix everything together, and pour into the buttered casserole dish.
Bake uncovered for 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you double the recipe, bake for 30-32 minutes.)
Sprinkle with sea salt before serving.
More matzoh brei variations:
My dad's famous matzoh brei, from The Perfect Pantry
Maple cinnamon matzoh brei, from The Perfect Pantry
Dark chocolate coconut banana vegan matzah brei, from What Jew Wanna Eat
Matzo brei with pear, ricotta and dried cherries, from Sassy Radish
Savory egg white matzo brei with leeks, from Sophistimom
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