It’s time to break out the matzoh. And the matzo. And the matzah. Whether you like it or not.
Because no matter how you spell the thin, crisp, crackerlike flatbread, it’s not as if you can pretend it doesn’t exist. (Though chances are you may wish you could—especially by, oh, the seventh day or so of Passover, when you probably couldn’t care less if you open another box of matzoh again. Ever.)
But eat it you must. So, we thought, why not embrace matzoh? Realizing that this coup requires more than a mere state of mind—and thinking those of us who celebrate Passover could stand for some preemptive matzoh-minded voyeurism—we asked just about everyone we know how they partake of this Passover (forgive us) penance. We even asked folks we don’t know, stopping strangers on the street, sidling up to folks with boxes of matzoh in their grocery carts at the store, even befriending a few writerly types online. You’ll find all 100 plus of the really quite clever and undeniably curious things that happen to matzoh behind closed doors in our list below. Whether your preference lies with the classics or leans toward a little creative license, we think you’ll find something that’ll make these days a little easier. Heck, who knows? Maybe this year, eight days won’t seem quite long enough.
And don’t for a second think 100 is the limit. We and everyone else are quite curious to hear your matzoh creations. Tell us, how do you disguise yours? Originally published April 17, 2011. —Jenna Rose Levy and Renee Schettler Rossi
1. Plain. (But you already knew that.)
2. I love matzos, and always keep them on hand to make matzo brei (my favorite comfort food). But this is my new favorite matzo treat: Slather matzo with sour cream. Top with glistening salmon caviar (I buy mine at Zabar’s). Gently squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top. Eat with enormous happiness.—Ruth Reichl, writer
3. Matzo brei.
4. and 5. Spring means asparagus and rhubarb and the magnificent morel, but it’s not truly spring in my kitchen until I’m brushing the season’s first matzoh crumbs from my table. Anyone who says that matzoh is just cardboard on a plate has never had a good piece of matzoh. Matzoh at its best is the ideal cracker: crisp, blistered, and lightly burned, like a marshmallow that you’ve held the tiniest bit too close to the fire. It’s that gentle char that makes it. My favorite is Yehuda matzo. Its flavor and texture are perfect and, like good bread, it doesn’t need much. I like it best beneath a layer of salted Irish butter, softened so that it glides right on. That’s all. Though for the sake of variety, I’ll sometimes dress up my matzoh with an herbed goat cheese spread.—Jess Fechtor, blogger at Sweet Amandine
6. With hummus, chopped up pickles, and dabs of Sriracha sauce.—Elizabeth Alpern, devotee to both kitniyot and egg matzoh as well as Events Director for Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All
7. and 8. I remember my mom making matzoh stuffing for chicken. I recall really liking it, and I realize now that I never asked her how she made it. The other matzo memory I have from way back when is of me standing at the stove next to my dad, watching him make matzo brei. With traditional matzo brei, the best part was always the crispy outside. But my dad didn’t make it like a pancake or latke, like most people do. He made nothing but crispy pieces. In a wok! We would eat a pile of crispies sprinkled with sugar. No matter how much my dad made, it never seemed to be enough. It always disappeared so quickly! That recipe I knew I had, and I was actually able to find it.—Jackie Gorman, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
My Dad’s Nothing-but-Crispy-Little-Pieces Matzo Brei
I have always liked the crispies when it comes to food. My dad experimented and came up with this method of making matzo brei, so I would eat not just the top or the bottom but could have all crispies.
1 sheet matzo
1 large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter
Sugar for sprinkling
Hold the sheet of matzo over a large bowl and break it into pieces no bigger than the size of a quarter. Add just enough boiling water to cover the matzo. Find a plate that will fit in the bowl and push down the matzo pieces. Let rest for 5 minutes. Tilt the bowl over the sink and press on the plate to drain the water, then pat the matzo with a paper towel to remove any excess water. Add the beaten egg to the bowl and stir.
Melt the butter in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add the matzo mixture and cook, stirring very often to keep the pieces separate, until they become firm and start to crisp. Be patient. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get a mixture of tender and crispy pieces. They will be about the size of cornflakes.
Pour out onto a plate, and sprinkle with sugar. Enjoy!
9. Dipped, dunked, slathered, or otherwise enveloped with chocolate.
12. I swear this is true: my 11-year-old son drizzles it with agave nectar and then sprinkles it with coarse salt. I’m 100% serious. It’s like his signature recipe. (It’s good stuff, too. Try it.)—Cheryl Sternman Rule, blogger at 5 Second Rule
13. to 15. Buried beneath peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. Or all of the above.
16. Schmeared with horseradish and topped with haroset—the traditional Ashkenazi kind, made with apples, cinnamon, nuts, and wine. My grandmother always wants to give us a box and my husband will take it and nibble on it for a few days, but once the seder is over I’m not touching the stuff.—Debbie White, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
17. and 18. Chèvre, honey, and baby arugula. Tangy, spicy, and sweet. Also, drizzled with melted chocolate and sprinkled with fleur de sel.—Devra Ferst, Editor, The Jew and the Carrot
19. Schmeared with cream cheese.
20. Schmeared with jelly.
21. Schmeared with cream cheese and jelly.
22. to 24. Schmeared with cream cheese, sliced banana, and a drizzle of honey. Made into matzah pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, olives, and oregano. Crumbled into tiny pieces and then cooked like oatmeal with milk and a touch of water plus cinnamon, which I top with brown sugar and raisins or walnuts and eat almost every day for breakfast during Passover.—Leah Koenig, author of The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook
25. Crumbled, sweetened, spiced, and baked into matzoh granola.
26. They don’t call it “bread of affliction” for nothing! Matzah has crunch going for it, but not much else. I think slathering it with butter, sugar, and chocolate or nuts is certainly one way to make it palatable.—Amy Sherman, blogger at Cooking with Amy
27. Sandwiched between slabs of chocolate.
28. to 30. I’ve found that no matter what you use, it helps to think of matzoh as a mere vehicle for getting all of the good stuff to your mouth. Schmear it with creamy peanut butter, which is less likely to break the matzoh than chunky, then slice bananas on top, and drizzle with a bit of honey. It makes a wonderful breakfast. For the truly observant, almond butter works well. Also, I’m a fan of the matzoh pizza, whether the toppings are basic (tomato sauce and mozzarella) or more complex. And last, I like to drizzle it with dulce de leche—simple but very effective.—Rebecca Flint, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
31. Matzah sliders.—Marian Levine, owner of Carnegie Deli, NYC
32. At our house, it was mostly matzoh with sweet butter and a little sugar. I loved it. Probably because in those days of thinking, butter was evil. It was one of the few times we had butter, whipped and unsalted—although that never prevented it from breaking the matzoh.—Cindi Kruth, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
32. [déjà vu]: Matzoh was always smeared with butter and then usually (but not always) sprinkled with sugar. My father is part Dutch, and this was also how we ate rusks and Carr’s table water crackers.—Tamiko, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
33. Topped with pickled herring.
35. and 36. I made a matzoh- and mustard-crusted chicken breast one time that turned out really well. The mustard helped the crushed matzoh stick to the chicken, and the results were quite crispy and tasty! And when I make a smoked salmon dip, I love to use toasted matzoh, preferably whole-wheat, as the crackers.—Anna Scott, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
37. With smashed avocado and tons of sea salt and cracked black pepper.—Emzeegee, blogger at Emzeegee and the Hungry Three
38. My favorite has to be David Lebovitz’s Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch. I have to force myself to stop eating it.—Linda, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
39. to 42. To be honest, my favorite way to eat matza is simply with a schmear of butter or cream cheese. But I also enjoy it enhanced as: Geschmirte Matza (spread with a custard-like topping and baked, resulting in a cheesecake-like consistency); Borekas de Massa (Sephardic matza turnovers); Scacchi (Italian Vegetable and Matza Pie); and Chremslach (matza pancakes in honey).—Gil Marks, author of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
43. Slathered with ridiculous amounts of Nutella.
44. to 48. My father once told me that you could tell where a person’s family originated in Europe by what they put on their matzo brei: matzo brei with salt; matzo brei with honey; matzo brei with jam. (My family likes salty matzo brei.) But my current matzo favorites are chocolate-covered caramel matzo crunch and sautéed matzo balls, which I make with leftover matzo balls. I sauté onions and garlic, and then add the leftover matzo balls and cook until a little crisp on the outside and serve as a side dish. Delish!—Sue Epstein, Leite’s Culinaria recipe tester
49. As an uber-crisp coating for fried chicken.
50. Neither my husband nor I are doing wheat. Although I hear there’s an oat matzah made by a company based in Israel. So in order to satisfy tradition, I’ll try to find that before it’s sold out. Otherwise, if anyone knows how to make your own oat matzah…—Maxine Davidowitz, art director and painter
51. With a thin schmear of goat cheese and a lot of honey.
52. to 58. Loaded with your favorite bruschetta toppings, whether plain old tomato, or fava bean purée, or caramelized onions with balsamic, or mashed peas with a chiffonade of mint, or dandelion greens sautéed in duck fat, or roasted wild mushrooms, or maybe even garlicky white bean purée with walnuts.
59. Dipped into the yolk of a perfectly cooked egg, sunny side up, please.
60. and 61. Alas, my matzo skills are fairly run-of-the-mill. I prefer to slather a square with cream cheese and top it with strawberry jam, or to douse a slice with pasta sauce and a heavy dose of mozzarella cheese. This year, however, being gluten free, I’m going to have to get creative. There are “matzo-like crackers” out there that will have to suffice. I really want to master a good lasagna or poor-man’s Pesach grilled cheese.—Chaviva Galatz, Social Media Consultant and blogger at Just Call Me Chaviva
[Editor’s Note: To make matzoh into lasagna, simply pour boiling water over several matzohs to soften, then drain and layer with sauce and cheese, just as you would lasagna noodles.]
62. Crumbled into soup.
63. My personal favorite is matzah farfel dressing. It’s a simple preparation of toasted matzah bits tossed with wild mushrooms, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, lots of salt and pepper, then moistened with chicken stock or vegetable stock, some white wine, and baked. Great at the seder as well as with eggs the next morning—if there’s any left!—Rebecca Joseph, blogger at The Parve Baker and founder of 12 Tribes Food
64. Fancied up as matzoh bark.
65. to 67. Give matzoh a good schmear of butter, drizzle lots of maple syrup on top, and sprinkle it with fleur de sel. Also, I coat the caramel layer of matzoh buttercrunch with coffee-flavored dark chocolate and then sprinkle it with Maldon salt to make mocha matzoh buttercrunch. But what I’m most interested in are the crumbs when you cut into it. That is the best ice-cream topping right there. You’ll wish it were Passover all year round!—Kerrin Rousset, blogger at My Kugelhopf
68. With mayonnaise and kosher salami.—Emzeegee, blogger at Emzeegee and the Hungry Three
69. to 76. Dirty Matzoh, a Pesach version of a savory kugel, Cajun-style. Whole-wheat matzoh with peanut butter or almond butter along with pumpkin butter and a sprinkle of flax seeds. Topped with a poached egg and a bit of melted Gruyère or Manchego. Thin, egg matzoh spread with cream cheese and lox—toast it for a minute to slightly broil the lox. Leftover cooked salmon works well, too. Matzoh brei with onions and roasted broccoli and cooked salmon. Matzoh brei with fried salami. Everything matzohs with a mozzarella stick or with hummus!—Marcie C. Ferris, author of Matzoh Ball Gumbo
77. With a steaming cup of tea.
78. If we’re talking matzo meal, then it’s not Passover without my family’s bimuelos, a kind of Sephardic matzo ball. A dozen eggs are whipped up with a cup or so of matzo meal, fried into balls, boiled in sugar and honey, and then doused in sweet cream. It’s like everything caloric all rolled up together.—Liz Steinberg, blogger at Café Liz
79. to 87. As a barely-sturdy-enough scoop for anything scoop-able, such as tuna salad, chicken liver pâté, hummus, green olive dip, egg salad, roasted eggplant dip, tapenade, fondue, salt cod and potato spread (we could go on…)
88. Crushed and sprinkled atop stuffed artichokes.
89. to 92. As for toppings, I love melted cheese topped with guacamole on matzoh. And matzoh makes the perfect tuna melt: Muenster cheese melted, topped with tuna salad and sliced avocado. As for desserts, Marble Chocolate Matzoh with dark and white chocolate melted and swirled on the matzoh. And then the Mocha Matzoh Napoleon, for which you soak matzohs in coffee and then layer with chocolate mousse and freeze. Both recipes are in my book.—Paula Shoyer, author of The Kosher Baker and blogger at The Kosher Baker
93. Matzoh tiramisu
94. and 95. Matzo chips. I moisten the matzo just a little, then toast it with oil, spices, and salt. The resulting crackers are easier to eat and digest than plain matzo, and are very nicely satisfying. I also make matzo lavash, following the same recipe, but keeping the matzo whole.—Eve Quarrendon Jochnowitz, The Chocolate Lady, blogger at In Mol Araan
96. With olives.
97. With a martini.
98. With olives and a martini.
99. As an accompaniment to homemade gravalax.
100. I do an Asian-inspired matzah brei. Instead of making scrambled brei, I use a bit more egg to keep the whole thing intact, like a frittata. I add ginger, garlic, and scallions, and serve it cut into wedges with Sriracha dipping sauce. Delish, even when it’s not Passover. Seriously.—Rivka Friedman, blogger at Not Derby Pie
101. And, in the unlikely event you have any leftover matzoh, take a gander at this utterly hysterical video featuring 20 more things to do with matzoh. (Only one has anything to do with food, but we didn’t think you’d mind.)