To Brei Or Not To Brei

To Brei Or Not To Brei

As a food founder, I am obliged to extol the virtues of Bobbie's Boat Sauce with seasonal and holiday dishes; it's is one of the perks of my job.  Last Passover, I shared an updated recipe for my mom's brisket.  This year, I'm confronting a dish that I have been ambivalent about my entire life. As an equal opportunity lover of most cuisines, both high and low brow, I'm reluctant to unilaterally condemn certain foods (barbeque chicken pizza notwithstanding), but I have never cared for matzo brei, an Ashkenazi Jewish dish of pan-fried matzo and eggs, served most often during Passover. 

There are thousands of "authentic" preparations and unwavering opinions on how it's prepared, but in the most basic terms, matzo is moistened with water, crumbled into beaten eggs, then fried in schmaltz, oil, or butter until cooked (more controversially, matzo is moistened then pan fried before eggs are added).  It can be served sweet, with syrup or jelly, or savory, with salt and pepper.  If you like hard, dry scrambled eggs fortified with damp cardboard, you might like traditional matzo brei.  But if you prefer your eggs soft as a baby's cheek, seasoned with a little sea salt and a shower of chives, you may have as hard a time falling in love this dish as I.    

In fairness, I think the appeal is not the culinary integrity, but the nostalgic resonance; the fact that most of the folks who fell in love with matzo brei ate it once a year, prepared by a loving parent recreating a memory of being served matzo brei by a loving parent.  That's my trauma-free theory on why matzo brei persists.  

But I decided to make my first matzo brei in maybe 30 years, to see if I've been wrong about it.  I consulted several recipes and landed on a method that didn't allow the matzo to get too soft and wasn't too eggy.  It was fine. Better with some Bobbie's Boat Sauce Classic. Could be a good hangover remedy.  Then, I decided to improvise an unholy version of matzo brei that I knew would taste great: browning barely-damp matzo first in butter, then in Bobbie's Classic.  Then it becomes a swinging party, tossing Eastern European power couple onions and mushrooms with kimchi, then eggs.  This got a dollop of sour cream, followed by more Boat Sauce and my beloved chives.  It was good.  So good, in fact, that I ate and thoroughly enjoyed it again the next morning, straight from the fridge.  With just enough egg to marry the textures, it wasn't afflicted with the sad rubberiness of a hard scramble.  I was genuinely surprised, but even more than that, pleased that I could redeem this traditional dish for myself and my Boat Sauce community, and give it a worthy name: Meshugana Matzo Brei. 

Note: Bobbie's Boat Sauce isn't (yet) certified Kosher and definitely isn't Kosher for Passover.  But I'm okay with that if you are!