Lemon Ricotta Matzo Brei

Matzo Brei Recipe with lemon and ricotta cheese

I was at work the other day when our CFO strode purposefully into my office. This almost always means trouble, and with our data whiz out of the office on vacation, I had a sinking feeling that his request for some kind of financial analysis was going to fall on me. When the first words out of his mouth where “I have an idea” I knew I’d be setting aside a good part of my day tracking down some obscure bit of data in the deepest reaches of our customer database.

“Matzo-moto Brei” he exclaimed proudly…. I was perplexed. I knew what matzo was, but as for “brei”, and how it related to Q2 revenue projections, I had nothing. There was an awkward pause… and then my VP started laughing hysterically.

Matzo, an unleavened bread

Matzo’s significance during Passover was explained to me along with a quick rundown of Matzo Brei. But the request wasn’t for just any Matzo Brei, the CFO wanted Matsumoto’s (that’s me) take on it, “something infused with lemon” he said. Quarterly bonuses coming up and all, I didn’t want to disappoint, so I sat dutifully at my desk over lunch, doing some research about this puzzling mélange of egg and unleavened bread.

Since I’d never had it before, I had no idea what it was supposed to look or taste like, but after looking at some photos on Flickr, and scanning a few recipes, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what I was making.

For my version, I soaked the matzo in milk to soften it up, then mixed it with some fresh ricotta, Meyer lemon zest and egg. I saw some photos that scrambled the mixture in the pan, but I liked the bronzed crust that was on the more frittata-like renditions, so I added a healthy dose of butter into the pan and poured the rather unattractive mixture in, letting it fry undisturbed for a good 10 minutes.

Eggs, matzo, lemon and ricotta

Honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect. The gloppy mixture of soggy crackers and egg looked dubious at best, and I started to wonder if I’d be eating yogurt for breakfast. “French toast”, was how it was described to me, and I’d have to say that’s a pretty accurate description. There’s just one thing… Matzo Brei is better! I ended up eating the whole thing myself, doused with lemon juice and a generous shower of powdered sugar on top. The matzo absorbs whatever flavours you throw at it, and the middle stays soft and moist, while the butter fried exterior turns brown and gets a nice crisp crust around the edges.

Matzo brei dusted with powdered sugar and serve with lemon juice

I have all kinds of ideas about future versions of this that I’ll be making, like a savoury Matzo Brei cooked in schmaltz with lemon zest and thyme, or another sweet one with rum soaked raisins and a caramel sauce. Taste aside, this dish is great because matzos keep forever in your cupboard. So as long as you have eggs, you’re only a few minutes away from a delicious breakfast/snack/dessert.

Lemon Ricotta Matzo Brei

4 matzos
1 c milk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs sugar
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/2 C ricotta cheese
2 Tbs butter

Break up the matzo into medium chunks and put them in a bowl. Heat the milk until warm and pour it over the matzo, stirring to make sure the matzo is soaking evenly. Let it sit until the matzo is softened (a noodle like texture) but not mushy. Drain and gently squeeze out any extra milk.

Whisk the eggs in another bowl with the vanilla, sugar and lemon zest. Pour the egg mixture over the moistened matzo, and add the ricotta cheese. Stir to combine.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the butter and melt, waiting until the sizzling subsides. Add the matzo mixture and lower the heat to medium low. Flatten out the top, then cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip the Matzo Brei over and turn up the heat to medium. Cook uncovered until the second side is browned.

Slice the Matzo Brei up into wedges and serve with lemon and a generous dusting of powdered sugar on top.

  • http://www.highlowfooddrink.com/ Andrea @ High/Low

    Love the story! I bet researching for this recipe was a lot more fun than data mining!

  • http://melangerbaking.com/ Julia @ Mélanger

    Delicious. I am making Matzoh brei for the first time this morning, but am going a more traditional version for my first taste test. But this certainly looks and sounds appetising. I'm sure they'll be a round II in my future. Wish I got requests like that at work!

  • Lemonpi

    Wow, this sounds so tasty. I must look for some matzo asap! Hope you get your quarterly bonus for such a sterling effort 😉

  • http://www.sense-serendipity.com Divina

    Wow, Marc, this is incredible. I was wondering what they're made of but you did something fantastic and incredible with this Matzos. I don't mind the nontraditional take on this. Very brilliant.

  • foodiefroggy

    What a beautiful recipe ! Thanks ! Now I know what to do with my matzo leftovers !

  • syuval

    I actually gave a Matzo Brei recipe in my own food blog (I would've sent you the link but I know your Hebrew is not that good) and I just commented how versions are there for this “pancake-replacement” passover dish… I'm sure going to try this tomorrow morning for the last passover breakfast.

    I would recommend also version of Matzso Brei done similar to “croque monsieur” – wet a matzah in plain water (best to put it under running water for 15 seconds, ensuring it is all wet), half it, put a generous layer of semi-softenned butter on each half, then some hard cheese and your favorite selection of bacon, ham, pastrami, salami… you get the idea. Close the sandwich with the other half, dip it in an egg you just scrambled in a bowl, then fry for 2-3 minutes each side.

  • http://ww.foodmayhem.com Jessica Lee Binder

    This looks amazing and I'm sending this to my Jewish side (husband's side) now. There are different schools of thought on matzo brie and stubborn fans of each. There's savory ones, sweet ones, pancake-like, scrambled pile, and French toast. I like the French toast kind which is why I”m all over your version, but hubby likes scrambled and he's the Jew.

  • norecipes

    That sounds awesome, will have to give that a try with some of the
    leftover matzo.

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Hah! I'm impressed – your CFO knows about your considerable culinary skill! I've never heard of this before (heck, I've never encountered Matzo here in the Philippines), but it looks so good, and now that you've said it's better than French toast…

  • http://www.tastewiththeeyes.com/ Lori Lynn

    Bravo Marc! Love your twist on our old favorite! Your version would go over big around here!

    I'm partial to savory, lots of onion cooking in schmaltz, then add water soaked matzoh, brown it up, then stir in beaten egg and cook briefly (not dry). Finish with salt and pepper.

    I hope you have a very Happy Easter!

  • http://www.aglugofoil.com/ Jan

    What a great idea! They look delish.

  • http://myfabulousrecipes.blogspot.com/ Sook

    Ah yumm!! This looks fabulous.

  • http://papawow.com/ papawow

    That looks fantastic and actually sounds pretty easy to make! Oh, and when you make the, “a savoury Matzo Brei cooked in schmaltz with lemon zest and thyme” invite me over to wash dishes to earn a slice. T

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.blogspot.com/ Joanne

    This is such an inventive way to use matzo! I would have never thought of something like this…guess necessity (and a strong desire for a bonus) is the mother of invention. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • pmintpat

    I'd like to know if your CFO ever got to taste it and what he thought of it. It sounds good to me. I love lemon…whatever. And I've been curiouser and curiouser about Matzo, but have done little cooking with it, being a third generation, west coast Japanese person.
    Thanks for sharing. I guess I will stop and get some matzo on the way home from work, and give it a try.

  • http://trissalicious.com Trissa

    How I wish one day my boss would stride into my office (which at the moment is just a little cubicle!) and say I have an idea and then ask me to make a really mouthwatering dish like you have!

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com/ Michael [KyotoFoodie]

    Hmm. Sounds yummy though.

  • http://www.elegantlabels.com/ Dina

    yum…can't wait to try it :o)

  • http://twitter.com/chefdruck chefdruck

    Savoury matzo brei with schmaltz and lemon… you really know how to make a woman swoon Marc. I'm always trying to prove to my husband that Passover doesn't have to be something to suffer through, and I wish I'd seen your take on matzo brei a few weeks ago! Thankfully we still have plenty of matzo leftover and a little duck fat in the fridge that will do the trick nicely, even though Passover is done.

    Your next Jewish food challenge? Gefilte fish.

    Incidentally, I tackled chopped liver this year for Passover, giving it a little French influence. It was delicious. Here is the link: http://chefdruck.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-ma

  • Design1211

    Obviously you haven’t made any claims to this effect, but it should still be noted that although this recipe sounds delicious, it is probably not Kosher for Passover by most standards. Most ricotta is made using vinegar and is therefore not KFP. Also, although I think it’s possible to get KFP powdered sugar, I’m pretty sure most conventional powdered sugar contains some cornstarch, which is a Passover no-go for many.

  • Ariel Israel Ben-Zion

    I used this recipe but cooked them like pancakes. I let them cool and added a topping (mix some vanilla yogurt , creme cheese, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, zest of lemon, and powdered sugar, let set up in refrigerator), garnished with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.. This is a AWESOME!!! Baruch Hashem,

  • Mara

    Made this today for my last Passover meal this year–so good! Highly recommended.


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