For anyone with celiac disease, that phrase is somewhat redundant. When gluten causes an autoimmune reaction in your tummy, all bread is the bread of affliction. Pain, discomfort, misery, all these words go hand and hand with bread, gluten's favorite hide out.
And yet, Jewish homes across the world, we annually lift up a piece of matzo from the table and brazenly name it the bread of affliction. Meshugana.
Okay, sure, there's loads and loads of history, tradition, and midrash behind matzo being the bread of affliction, but I have to tell you, being gluten-free, one of the foods I truly do miss is matzo brei (or fried matzo, for the Yiddish challenged among you). Nutritiously vapid, completely heart unhealthy, childhood favorite. I love matzo brei. And who doesn't? It's fried. It's salty. It's crunchy. It's delicious.
Matzo itself I miss, sure, but when I came upon Barkat's Matzo Crackers at the Raisin Rack my brain (and salivary glands) went straight to matzo brei. But would these little crackers stand up to the test?
Yes and yes. While not quite as crunchy as I remember - something I blame more on my rusty fried matzo cooking and my reservations to use as much butter as my father did when he cooked this for us on Passover mornings - this matzo brei really, really hit the spot.
Barkat's Matzo Crackers aren't kosher for passover, but if you want to make matzo brei for your family you can follow Carol Fenster's recipe for homemade matzo as posted by Gluten Free Steve or buy some gluten-free oat mazto from the Shemura Oat Matzo website or at Unger's Kosher Bakery on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.
Bread of affliction? Feh! Surprisingly delicious crispy, fried goodness? Well, now you're on to something...
(If you're pre-planning your gluten-free passover, make sure you check out Manischewitz's Gluten Free Product List - how cool is that??!)
Completely Unhealthy, Amazingly Delicious Matzo Brei
9 - 12 Barkat Matzo crackers, broken in half
2 - 3 Tablespoons of butter
salt to taste
Soak matzo crackers in a hot water bath for 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, beat an egg in a separate bowl. Drain the matzo, pressing it down, squeezing as much moisture from thecrackers as possible. Mix the egg into the matzo until thoroughly combined and coated.
In a medium pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Once it's melted, spread the matzo mixture evenly and thinly in the pan. Sprinkle the top with salt. Let cook until it browns (about 3 -4 minutes) and flip the matzo cake, either as one large slab (nearly impossible) or by breaking it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Break the matzo into desired amount of pieces, as the other side cooks, becoming brown and crispy, and salt again.
Serve with fruit and yogurt to assuage some of the fried fruit guilt and enjoy.