Fried matzo and egg dishes are a Passover staple. My great grandmother’s Manischewitz cookbook (which her daughter, my grandmother, says was given out for free around Jewish holidays in early-twentieth-century Cincinnati, where the company was headquartered) has many recipes in this category. I chose this one, because it seemed the closest to what my grandmother and father used to make for us: nicely fried, eggy, sweet, and tangy.
3 Manischewitz matzos
6 tbps. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. grated lemon rind
Soften matzos in milk or water, then cut into fourths or eighths. Dip into beaten eggs and fry in butter until brown. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over hot matzos. Sprinkle lemon peel on top and serve.
I decided to make a double recipe, to make sure there was plenty.
I dropped the matzos into a water-filled casserole dish.
The matzos start out really dry, so I left them in for about a minute.
I needed butter for frying…
… and egg for dipping…
… and the matzoh had begun to disintegrate.
I started with the pieces that had sort of held together.
They fried up pretty easily on the griddle.
Unfortunately, most of the cracker had turned completely to mush.
After a while, I gave up trying to make separate pieces (like what you get when the matzo pieces are intact).
Note the gigantic mass of frying egg and cracker, which is probably much closer to the Scrambled Matzos or Matzo Omelet on the same page.
I didn’t think about how I was going to flip it until the time for that came.
But it came through without much of a hitch.
It certainly looked more impressive than the little pieces when it was done.
So I dusted it with the cinnamon, sugar, and powdered lemon peel, in the amounts the recipe listed.
It didn’t look too bad on a plate, but how would it taste?
Well, even with the ridiculously over-moistened matzo, the flavor of the fried dish wasn’t that bad. I think I would have liked it better if the pieces had all been flat, with cracker in the center and egg on either side (rather than a homogeneous patty made from both), but it was still pretty good.
Unfortunately, the topping was oddly bitter.
… Use 1/4 as much as recipe calls for….
Yeah, it was pretty hard to finish. Despite the sugar and the fancy Vietnamese cinnamon, the dried lemon zest was the dominant flavor. After a while, it was like gnawing on a lemon.
I think the proper Jewish response would have been strictly passive aggressive. As in, “I’m amazed how much dried peel flavor you managed to get into this dish. I never would have dared to add that much, lest the bitterness overwhelm everything else.” However, what I actually got was: “You ruined good cinnamon and sugar!”
So I messed this dish up in several ways. And it was not one of those situations where: Had I merely cooked the dish and not had it tasted good, dayenu. [It would have been enough.]
However, I have sworn to revisit this recipe and get it right.