By Miriam Rubin
Recipes for matzo brei — an egg and matzo concoction — abound this time of year, and there are many variations on this classic Passover dish.
Nach Waxman is founder of New York City’s Kitchen Arts and Letters, a one-of-a kind cookbook store. In response to an email, he sent this recipe with a note:
“Obviously there is nothing here that someone else hasn’t already done somewhere; this particular combo is my version. It will have open layers of matzo pieces, some butter-crisp and dry, some eggy, some still damp. Every forkful’s a surprise and a delight.”
I tried it. It’s fabulous. You’ll need a nap afterward.
Nach Waxman’s Craggy Matzo Brei
Large kettle of boiling water
3 to 4 large eggs, beaten
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fine-to-medium freshly ground black pepper (“The pepper is critical.”)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
Sour cream or thick Greek yogurt for serving (“This version is not usually served sweet — no jams, honeys or, heaven help us, maple syrup.”)
Additional sea salt and pepper, for serving
Putting it together:
Break matzos quite irregularly into large bowl — big long pieces, little dime-sized pieces — to make a jumble. “Non-homogeneity is the theme.”
Pour boiling water over matzos. Immediately empty bowl into colander and drain a minute or two. Some matzo pieces will be soaked, some soggy, some damp, some practically crisp. “Diversity is what’s wanted.”
Dry bowl. Add matzos, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Toss it all with a fork, lightly, so as not to break up matzo pieces. “Keep it all rough and tumbled.”
In large, heavy skillet, (Waxman uses cast-iron; don’t use nonstick-coated), melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat and get it foaming. Dump in matzo and let it fall as it does, spreading with fork, but not smoothing it or pressing down upon mixture. Let fry about 5 minutes, then turn with spatula in sections (not in one piece like a pancake), maintaining the open structure. As each section is turned, add a little more butter to that area of the pan, using about 4 tablespoons more. After a few minutes, areas can be slightly broken up and turned again. Total cooking is about 15 minutes.
Serve hot with sour cream or yogurt and more salt and pepper. Makes 4 to 6 servings.