Its Still Pesach! Time for Porcini Matzo Brei!

the ingredients: fresh mushrooms, shallot or onion, eggs and matzo, with a bit of something porcini-ish: here i have stock/bouillon cubes and condimento, but you could use only condimento if you liked, and/or rehydrated dried porcini or powdered porcini. Other mushrooms, like Polish wild forest ones? brilliant!

the ingredients: fresh mushrooms, shallot or onion, eggs and matzo, with a bit of something porcini-ish: here i have stock/bouillon cubes and condimento, but you could use only condimento if you liked, and/or rehydrated dried porcini or powdered porcini. Other mushrooms, like Polish wild forest ones? brilliant!

I could write a whole book about matzo brei, thats how much I love it. Our family called it “fried matzo” and i have so many my happy memories, each sunday morning trotting into the kitchen for breakfast. My grandmother seldom missed whipping up a batch of fried matzo on these mornings; and next to the matzo brei was surprisingly, a pile of crisp bacon. My grandmother–my very beloved grandmother, Bachi– may not been able to combine milk with meat, nor take a bite of pork or ham, but somehow, bacon? it didn’t seem like meat. It was crunchy rather than fleshy, and it tasted more delicious than anything else, it tasted like nothing else. I think she believed in its goodness, and didn’t understand how such a thoroughly good thing could be forbidden.

Matzo brei was one of the first things I ever made for myself, and when I went to art school, i took matzo brei with me. It was the comfort dish I made for my daughter when she was growing up, and the dish I always make when I need soothing, reassurance, in addition to sustenance. Everyone around me loves my matzo brei, from my non Jewish husband to my three Jack Russells. I’d like to say that its because I make amazing matzo brei but the truth? whichever matzo brei you grew up eating or have gravitated to in adulthood, THAT is the most amazing matzo brei, the one and all around you will adore. Some say that matzo brei is an aquired taste and I’ve seen this phenomenom with my own eyes. You can read here how I tried to introduce a ninety year old to its joys; she was so enthusiastic at first, but a bit dissappointed at the sheer heft of the dish.

But if you know what to expect, you can expect it with delight. Its a taste of tradition, a taste of home, something that is neither pancake nor fritter, crisp on the outside but layered with softness within. And its something you have your way: some like matzo brei sweet, soft, omelet-y, some like it crisp and browned and salty; some like it crisp and browned but nearly caramelized in butter and sugar. You might like jam on yours, you might cook yours in butter. I like salt on mine, and cook mine in olive oil.

If you celebrate Pesach/Passove, and right now we are still in the throes of it, during which time leavened bread is forbidden and our daily bread is that of , ie the flat crisp crackers called matzo which symbolize the flat breads the israelites baked on hot stones as they fled Egypt and slavery. Halfway through Pesach people start making a lot of jokes about matzo, and they get a bit tired of eating it. But if you love matzo and matzo brei as much as I do, its an opportunity to see what else you can whip up out of the same old ingredients.

The same old ingredients plus porcini mushrooms.

Porcini Matzo Brei
Makes enough for two adults, supper or brunch

Matzo brie is basically broken up matzo, soaked in water (or milk) then drained, mixed with beaten egg, and fried. Within that simple dish of few ingredients is a wealth of variety of finished dishes. This one is fried, dumpling like, and full of mushrooms.

About 4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 large shallot or smallish onion, chopped
About 8 oz ordinary mushrooms, sliced or chopped, or an assortment of more exotic ones such as shiitakes, or whatever is on offer
1/2 porcini bouillion cube, or small spoonful of porcini condimento (paste in a jar), or crumbled dried porcini or porcini powder: or any combination thereof
4 sheets of matzo
2 eggs
1-2 green onions, thinly sliced

In a heavy frying pan or wok, heat half the oil over a medium heat and add the shallot or onion, and the mushrooms; cook about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are softened. Sprinkle with whatever porcini-ish thing you have: if its the bouillion cube, use a paring knife to shred about half onto the mushrooms. Cover the hot mushrooms and onions with a lid, and set aside.

In a bowl break up the matzo and add cold water to cover; leave a few seconds then pour the water off. If you like your matzo brei softer inside, leave the water for longer, or even use hot water. Break the eggs into the bowl with the matzo and mix together well.

Return mushroms to the heat, push to one side of the pan, add the rest of the oil and when the surface of the pan is quite hot, add the matzo egg miture. Let it first form a pancake, then break it up a bit, gradually topping and mixing with the mushrooms and onions. When the matzo is crisp and browned, and have become one with the mushrooms, its ready. Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve sprinkled with thinly sliced green onions.

maybe not so pretty, but oh so tasty!

maybe not so pretty, but oh so tasty!


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  • FrancisNeil says:

    Technically, I don’t think there are exceptions for picky eaerts . But we’re not super-strict here so I’m just going to do my best. And yes, I do use almond flour! Check out this chocolate raspberry cake:

  • Annie says:

    What a thrill knowing you are back on line. And this looks delicious. I might do it with this shiitake mushroom “powder” a friend gave me.

    • yes, i also think that shiitake mushrooms would be great in this–use ordinary mushrooms with shakes of the powder. Do you remember when you could buy powdered porcini, in a metal shaker, and it was called: shake-a-cini? it was kinda hilarious that name, but whatever that powdered porcini was shaken on became instead foresty flavour. sadly i haven’t seen it in awhile.

    • there used to be a product of powdered porcini mushrooms in a tin can, with a sprinkle-top-lid, called “shake-a-chini”. Silly name but what a great product: from italy of course, the mushrooms were so fragrant (i think the container was the secret to their success). also it was cute, gold metalic tin with pictures of little mushrooms all over it. have’nt seen it in a while though.

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