The Jew And The Carrot

L.A. Chef Serves Up Seven Matzo Brei Variations

By Gordon Haber

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of Jar

Matzo brei is a relatively recent invention. According to the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food,” the common brei recipe — soaked matzo dipped in egg and pan-fried — can be traced back to the late 19th century — or in Jewish terms, last week.

Despite the diversity of Jewish cuisine, that recipe has remained largely unchanged for 150 years. Yes, some like it sweet, others savory; some like it dry, others mushy (I like to brown both sides, almost like a Spanish omelet). But outside of these superficial differences, your basic brei is the same: moisten some matzo, crumble, mix in a couple of beaten eggs, fry, repeat for seven days.

Maybe that’s why I always have trouble staying away from chametz: brei fatigue. But now one talented L.A. chef has made it her mission to combat this (bread of) affliction. Each evening from April 7 to 13, Suzanne Tracht of Jar will be serving an innovative variation of matzo brei.

The creations reflect Tracht’s multicultural influences and her penchant for local, seasonal ingredients: Matzo Brei with Five Spring Onion; Chilequilles Style (like the Mexican dish of quartered and fried corn tortillas); with Pencil Asparagus, Burrata, and Brown Butter; with Roasted Shimeji Mushroom, Truffle Cheese and Salt; with Roasted Apple and Vermont Maple Syrup; and Matzo Brei Kimchi.

Tracht, who grew up in a kosher home, has long been interested in Jewish food: she has offered a seder at Jar for 10 years. And while she understands that many prefer to have a seder at home; the week of brei is a way to offer those guests a fine dining Passover experience.

The chef says that the variations are a way to experiment with a dish “that is a big part of the holiday but not always too exciting as a recipe.”

Tracht believes that home cooks can also combat brei ennui: “Put in a little love and be inventive. You’ll find that you can come up with your own variations using leftover vegetables or even fruits and nuts.”

She invites home cooks to post their ideas on Jar’s Facebook page. But this home cook will be trying one of her variations first. Chilequilles is a Sunday brunch signature dish at Jar; the chef was kind enough to provide her matzo brei version. I don’t think I’m going to wait for Pesach to make it.

If you have trouble finding the various dried chilies, the chef says that you can use any combination or just one, although the combination below produces the more complex flavor.

Next year at Jar, if not Jerusalem.

CHILAQUILES STYLE FRIED MATZO

4 servings

4-5 sheets matzo
Hot water
5 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Chilaquiles Sauce (see recipe below)
Garnish (see below)

Break the matzos into 4 quarters. Place matzos in square pan. Pour enough hot water over matzos to cover. Soak about 1 minute and drain. Mix eggs, milk, salt and pepper together. Carefully pour egg mixture over the matzos, making sure it gets in between the layers. Soak for 3-4 minutes.

Heat butter and oil in a skillet. Carefully add the matzo mixture. Cover and cook over a medium-low heat until the edges turn brown, about 4 or 5 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook until done. If it is not completely set in the middle, place pan in oven to complete the cooking process.

Chilaquiles Sauce

4 Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
½ brown onion
2 dried Chilede Àrbol peppers
2 dried Guajillo chile peppers
1 dried Chipotle chile pepper
Salt/Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Toss all ingredients together and roast on a sheet pan for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and place all ingredients into a sauce pan.

Add ¼ cup of water. Bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Blend until sauce is smooth.

Garnish:

4 tablespoons Crème fraiche
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

To plate:
Spoon enough sauce on each plate to cover the bottom. Cut the fried matzo into 4 pieces and place the fried matzo on top of the sauce. Spoon the top with a few dollops of crème fraiche and sprinkle with Parmesan, cilantro, and onion to finish.

Chef Suzanne Tracht Jar Los Angeles, California


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Passover Recipes, Matzo Brei, Jar Restaurant LA

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.