A new twist on an old Passover recipe: ‘Ramp matzo brei’
Note: Matzo Brei is a traditional Passover dish, usually prepared the day after the Passover seder to use up leftover matzo. In the tradition of pancakes and French toasts, it is usually served with maple syrup, which is welcomed in many Jewish households, especially those with children and the elderly. Ramp Matzo Brei is a modern variant for Jewish households with access to a New England forest. Ramps are a wild onion. If the bulb looks like a tiny onion, (more like a thinnish scallion, truth be told), smells like an onion, and tastes like an onion, it probably is a ramp, but don’t just take my word for it. Google “Ramps.”
Note: Non-Jews are welcome to make and eat this dish, but with a caution: it is a slippery slope to pickled herring and Everything bagels.
Take a walk in a New England Forest in mid to late April. Bring a bag and a knife.
Look for bright green patches of spatulate leaves, especially under deciduous trees. With your knife, loosen the soil around the bulb, cutting the filaments that hold the bulb in the soil. Pull gently. Do not pick more than one in five plants in a bed, to allow the bed to keep rejuvenating. You will need about five plants per person.
Wash the ramps of dirt and trim the strings from the base of the bulb. Separate the bulbs from the leaves. Chop the bulbs and cut the leaves cross-wise into 1/2 inch ribbons.
Boil a kettle of water.
Break into pieces one matzo square per person into a bowl. Pour boiling water over the matzo pieces, cover, and let soften.
Break one egg per matzo square (per person) into another bowl and beat until mixed.
Pour beaten egg into bowl with softened matzo and mix. Add salt and pepper and let stand a few minutes for the whole mess to blend.
Saute the bulbs in olive oil or butter. Add the leaves after the bulbs begin to sizzle and soften. Add salt and pepper.
Pour the egg and matzo mess into the frying pan, mix with the ramps and fry together, breaking it up as it cooks, and letting it get brown and crispy.
Serve with seder leftovers of your choice or, for non-Jews, serve with Easter leftovers of your choice. Ham is OK in these circumstances.