Pesach’s Forgotten Meal

French Herb Omelet | Photo: Baila Gluck

I’m so hungry—there’s nothing to eat!” is the very last thing anyone who has worked tirelessly to make Pesach wants to hear from their family. And yet, somehow during the food-filled, week-long holiday, every household member (who never seems to care that much about breakfast the rest of year), is overwhelmingly and impatiently famished come Pesach mornings. Let’s face it: Pesach breakfasts are the “forgotten meal,” or rather, the one we wish we could forget about. After weeks of preparation and cooking, even the best of us have depleted our wellspring of cooking energy. But as many holiday outing meltdowns have proven, making sure people are well-fed can make the difference between happy memories and grumpy souls. From simple to sophisticated, here are a few Pesach-friendly and brunch-friendly recipes that will be far kinder to your belly than another matzah and cheese sandwich (that’s for lunch, silly!). Excepting the French Herb Omelet, the rest of the recipes can be made in advance or yield enough to feed a family. Wishing a chag kasher v’sameach! 


French Herb Omelet
Yields 1 omelet

A French omelet is a completely different texture than the spongy American version we know so well. Instead of flipping and folding, the French omelet is rolled, creating a super soft and creamy texture inside—no browning on the exterior. It cooks incredibly quickly, so give it your full attention and have a plate at the ready! 

2 large eggs 
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or parsley (plus more for garnishing)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 

1. Combine the eggs, salt, pepper and chives in a medium bowl and mix very well with a fork or a whisk. Set aside. 
2. Heat butter in a small (6-inch) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Swirl to distribute the butter as it melts. When the butter is foaming (it should sizzle gently), add the eggs. Pause to let the eggs heat slightly and then stir vigorously with a small spatula to create small curds (make sure you get to the sides of the pan too for even cooking). Tilt the pan so that any loose eggs gather at the lower edge and get cooked. Stop stirring to allow eggs to set for another 30 seconds.
3. When eggs are set, scatter any additional desired fillings over omelet (shredded cheese, sautéed vegetables, et cetera).
4. Working quickly, hold the pan at a 45-degree angle to the stove and carefully roll the omelet downward onto itself, using the spatula as needed to help roll and turn it out onto serving plate. Garnish with additional chives or parsley, if desired.

Chef’s Note
Chives or parsley flavor this basic omelet, but feel free to improvise and change it up with your choice of sautéed vegetables, grated cheeses or other herbs.


Anytime Frittata with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes
Yields 4 servings

Anytime Frittata | Photo: Baila Gluck

Swiss chard is a colorful and tasty leafy green whose stem comes in a variety of colors, including red and yellow. Both stem and leaf are edible. Incorporating them in a frittata is a great way of getting more vegetables and nutrients in your meal. 

½ bunch Swiss chard 
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare Swiss chard: Clean and check leaves thoroughly. Use the tip of a sharp knife to remove the long center stems from Swiss chard leaves. Chop stems; set aside. Chop leaves into 1–2-inch strips; set aside.
2. Beat eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste; set aside.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan (oven-safe) over medium-high heat until oil is hot. Add reserved chopped stems, onion and garlic. Season with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Sauté for about 5–7 minutes, until onions are translucent and soft.  While sauteing, preheat broiler. 
4. Add beaten eggs to vegetables, mixing to distribute evenly. Add reserved chard leaves and chopped tomato, nestling them evenly within the eggs. Allow eggs to set for about 2–3 minutes (the bottom should be firm and set). Sprinkle top evenly with parmesan cheese. Transfer pan to broiler. Finish cooking under broiler for another 3–5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked and cheese is nicely browned. 
5. Remove from broiler. Cut into wedges and serve warm. 


Matzah Brei Cups
Yields 4 servings

A cuter, lighter, baked version of the fried classic that is fillable for a lovely serving presentation. Fill with your choice of suggested toppings below—no frying required!

2 sheets matzah
Boiling water
1 tablespoon melted butter 
(plus more for greasing pan)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375oF and grease a standard-size muffin pan liberally with butter. 
2. Place matzah sheets in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to break up matzah into very small pieces. Pour boiling water over broken matzah and stir to soak pieces. Drain matzah in a colander or sieve; return drained matzah to mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter, beaten egg, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon; mix to blend. 
3. Divide mixture amongst 10 cups (out of 12) in muffin pan. Use your fingers or the back of a small spoon to press mixture into an even layer on the bottoms and up the sides of each muffin cup. Bake for 13–14 minutes or until it appears browned and slightly crisp. Remove pan from oven to cool. 
4. To unmold, run the tip of a knife around the rim of each cup. Carefully remove each matzah brei cup; transfer cups to a baking sheet bottom side up. 
5. Prior to serving, place matzah brei cups in 350oF oven for 10 minutes to warm and crisp the exterior of brei cups. 
6. Remove from oven and fill with the topping of your choice.

 Chef’s Note
A few topping suggestions include sour cream and jam, Greek yogurt and roasted apples or whipped cream and fresh berries.


Tortilla Española 
Yields 1 tortilla

A Spanish classic, this dense, potato-studded egg dish can be cut into wedges for a larger meal or cut small for an hors d’oeuvre. This can be made in advance and tastes even better at room temperature. 

6 large eggs
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided (or more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large or 5 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, halved and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
¼–½ teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)

1. In a large bowl, beat eggs vigorously with a ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste, until frothy. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large (10-inch or 12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add potatoes and onions; lower heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes and onions are reduced by almost half and very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
3. Drain potatoes and onions of excess oil through a fine-mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl; reserve oil.
4. Transfer drained potatoes and onions to the bowl with the beaten eggs. Season with remaining 1½ teaspoons salt (and optional spices), stirring well to combine. 
5. Wipe out skillet. Add 3 tablespoons reserved frying oil back into skillet; heat over  -high heat until oil shimmers. Pour the egg mixture into skillet and cook until the bottom begins to set, about 3 minutes. Using a heatproof spatula, gather the edges inwards towards the center to form the tortilla’s iconic puck-like shape. Lowering heat as needed to prevent burning, cook until it begins to set around edges, about 3 more minutes.
6. To flip tortilla, place a large flat plate on top of skillet, set hand on top tightly (use gloves or mitts), and in one very quick motion, invert tortilla onto plate. Return skillet to heat, adding another tablespoon reserved oil to the pan. Carefully slide tortilla back into skillet and continue to cook until lightly browned on second side, about 4–5 minutes, pressing in all the sides again to form a rounded puck shape. 
7. Carefully slide tortilla out of skillet onto a clean plate and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Chef’s Notes
•  Extra leftover oil from frying can be saved and refrigerated for use in other dishes.
•  Leftover tortilla can be refrigerated up to 3 days; allow to return to room temperature before serving.

Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer based in Woodmere, New York. She teaches classes throughout the country and writes articles connecting delicious cooking and Jewish inspiration. Her first cookbook was The Giving Table.

This article was featured in the Spring 2024 issue of Jewish Action.
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