I confess: I woke up this morning thinking that if I have to cook with matza or matza meal once more today, I’ll scream. Turning to my old edition of Jewish Cookery for inspiration, I find pages of Passover recipes. Page after of page of recipes based on matza!
Never mind, I won’t scream. I’ll cook matza brie. And you know what?… I’ll enjoy it.
The traditional proportions are shown in the recipe below. My variation on this old-fashioned recipe was to add sage and cheese.
Herbed Cheese Matza Brie
serves 2-4 as main or side dish
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup cheese of choice, shredded or sliced thinly into strips. I used the Israeli idea of Cheddar.
herb of choice – I used a small amount of sage leaves, but an entire, long sprig of scallions, a handful of parsley or cilantro, a scattering of dried thyme, or some chopped basil would be just as good.
1. Chop the onion and sauté it in a little olive oil, over low heat. Do not let it brown. You want it succulent. If using dried herbs or sage, add them now.
2. While the onions are cooking, break up the matzas. The smaller the pieces, the more they will absorb liquid and the final product will be chewy rather than crunchy.
3. Beat the eggs and add the water to them. Add the salt and pepper. Mix the egg mixture into the broken matzas.
4. Allow the matzas to soak for 10 minutes.
5. When the onions are golden but still whole and juicy, scrape them into the softened matza mixture.
6. If using fresh chopped herbs, mix them in now.
7. In the same frying pan, put enough oil to cover the bottom. Pour the matzah mixture into the hot oil.
8. Cover the pan. Covering the pan is essential; the brie won’t cook through if left uncovered. Keep the flame at medium low.
9. Leave the brie alone for 10 minutes. Then, with a flexible spatula, loosen up the corners of it. Insinuate the spatula under the brie to loosen it up at the bottom. Unless you’ve used quite a lot of oil, some of it will stick anyway, but that’s just the way it is.
10. Strew the cheese over the top of the brie. Poke it into the mass.
Cover the brie again and leave it for another 5 minutes.
11. Loosen the brie again with the spatula. Turn it over onto a flat plate or pot lid. Briefly fry the reversed top side – add a drop more oil to the pan if it looks dried out.
12. Reverse the brie again onto a plate. Serve hot at the table, or cold at a picnic.