Of Course Cheese Makes Matzo Brei Even Better

Photograph by Isa Zapata, food styling by Thu Buser, prop styling by Christina Allen

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The matriarchs in my family believe that more is more. That if you say you’re full you really want to be served another ladle of soup or scoop of ice cream. So the Passovers of my childhood were full of matzo, far more than any household could eat in eight days, the pantry stocked so heartily that a box might jump out if you dared to open the door. This was a blessing. The excess was the point. And the leftovers were the ritual.

Matzo never went to waste. While braised brisket, gefilte fish, and flourless chocolate cake were special oncea-year affairs, matzo was far from it—specifically matzo ball soup for sick days, and matzo brei for all the other days. Most versions of the latter are egg-and-matzo scrambles, but ours is fried and flipped like a pancake. My grandma made matzo brei constantly. It was a quick and cheap meal that could be thrown together in the snap of a finger, with most of her attention still on her favorite show, The Golden Girls.

Grandma gave this back-pocket meal to my mom, who gave it to me, who gives it to you. For us it is comfort food at its most comfortable, like one of those movie theater seats that reclines and warms your butt and massages your back. You just need matzo and eggs, plus butter, water, and salt and pepper.

And for me: American cheese. This is not traditional. Far from it, in fact. The sort of riff my grandma would roll her eyes at if she were still with us. Can’t you leave a good thing alone? But I would beg her to try it. Isn’t that spectacular? Fluffy egg, gooey cheese, hot sauce staining your lips.

It’s matzo brei and a breakfast sandwich blurred together. A great reason to buy too much matzo, even if Passover has already passed.

Here’s how to make Cheesy Matzo Brei

Rinse 1 sheet salted matzo under cold running water until soggy, about 10 seconds per side. Using your hands, crumble into a small bowl. Add 2 large eggs, a big pinch of kosher salt, a big pinch of freshly ground pepper, and a small splash of water. Using a fork, beat until smooth. Tear 1 American cheese slice into small pieces and stir into matzo mixture.

Melt 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, swirling pan to coat. Pour in matzo mixture and spread out with a heatproof rubber spatula so it’s flat like a pancake. Cook matzo brei, swirling pan a couple of times, until golden brown underneath and surface is no longer shiny and wet-looking, 2–3 minutes. Flip over. Tear 1 American cheese slice into small pieces and scatter evenly over matzo brei. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook until cheese on top is melted, about 1 minute. Slide matzo brei onto a plate and serve with hot sauce and/or ketchup.

Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit

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