ramp malawach

This weekend totally nailed it. Nothing was too strongly out of the ordinary (except that brunch club member emeritus Abby came back to town for a visit with her new special man friend and it was sooo great and, ugh, we’ve gotta find a way to convince them to move back to grand forks you guys), I just did some simple errands, cooked fun things for family and friends, and engaged in my favorite saturday mid-morning ritual of going to the gym and then getting a turkey tom with onions on 7-grain at jimmy john's. “gym and jimmy john's” is its official name and it’s basically a way for the chill of pizza friday to take a victory lap. I don’t have to make any real decisions, I can sleep in and then cruise around town, ideally with a met opera broadcast la-la-la-ing over the radio, and then have a big mayo-y sandwich at the end. 

This particular saturday morning was extra good because in my first internet check of the day I came across this video of my friend matt playing the mozart sinfonia concertante with the minnesota orchestra. It is pure joy!! Is his mozart face not the best?? (The eyebrows! The delight!) So that set the jolliest, most civilized tone for the weekend and inspired me to listen to more mozart and then some mahler during my jimmy john's eating and new cookbook studying. At 5 o’clock, A Prairie Home Companion came on and I watched the video broadcast as I chopped cabbage. I really really love Chris Thile’s PHC. Even though he’s not from the Midwest, I’ve always associated his voice and music with the midwest since I listened to so much Nickel Creek on road trips to Michigan growing up, so I’m extremely happy and proud that we’ve adopted him. Being able to hear him play new songs live over the radio on the regular is such a gift. 

Yesterday I harvested our first bit of rhubarb!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used it to make a sauce for mother’s day blintzes. We had a nice big mother’s day brunch of blintz soufflé, zucchini quiche, challah, butter with chives from the garden, this rose rose cake which I finally defrosted, and some salady things. The quiche and blintz soufflé were made from recipes that I was testing for Leah’s forthcoming book and they were delicious, I can’t wait for her next book. 

Today I’m flying to Philadelphia for this panel tomorrow! (It is sold out but it will be live-streamed on facebook I think.) I am also planning to eat at all of Mike Solomonov’s restaurants in a pokémon-style gotta-catch-em-all early birthday present to myself. I am so excited. Wish me and my waistline luck. 

Here is a recipe that helped me get through all of the many bunches of ramps that eggboy bought the other day! At first I was going to make scallion pancakes with ramp greens instead of scallions but then I dug a bit further and learned that making malawach (a flaky yemeni flatbread) is a very similar process except that it uses butter instead of sesame oil and the dough gets stretched way thinner so you get more flakiness. I was in a buttery flaky mood, and I had just almost died over the amazing malawach at kismet in l.a., so I went with ramp malawach. 

Malawach is like a rustic flat hot croissant that’s way easier to make than a croissant. There truly is life before your first malawach and life after because there is no more perfect bite than a piece of malawach, hot out of the pan, topped with grated tomato, a plop of labneh, and a splatter of spicy zhoug. Grated tomato is traditional with yemeni buttery breads and it delivers just the right amount of freshness to balance everything out.

The dough here is pretty much the same as the scallion pancake dough in my book, but I read here that the kismet ladies use some pastry flour in theirs so I tried that and loved the extra bit of lightness that it added. The process of shaping malawach and getting the dough to be paper thin requires massaging it with a shit ton of butter. It's a lil messy, but it doesn't need to be perfect, and bonus: you'll moisturize your hands and butcher block countertops (if that's what you're using) in the process. 

Obviously if you're not up to your eyeballs in ramps, or maybe you're sick of them by now, you can use scallion greens, chives, or nix the idea of green things altogether. I threw the white parts of the ramps into some zhoug in the place of garlic which was a thing I'd do again. Also: You can make these ahead of time! Once you've shaped them, wrap them in plastic wrap, keeping each pancake separated by a layer of wax paper, and freeze them for up to a few months. Thaw at room temp for an hour or so before cooking.

Happy Malawach-ing!!! 


ramp malawach

makes 6

ingredients

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

3/4 c pastry flour

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 c water

3/4 c butter, very soft

10 ramps (green parts, finely chopped, add the white parts to zhoug or reserve for another use)

 

for serving

zhoug

labneh

2 large tomatoes, grated

3 or 4 seven-minute eggs

clues

in a large bowl, combine the flour, pastry flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. create a well in the center and add the water. mix the dough until you have a shaggy dough. 

turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead dough for 5-7 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, until smooth.

transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 6 balls. Keep them covered with plastic wrap when you're not working with them. Using your hands, spread 1 tablespoon butter on a large work surface, top one of the balls of dough with another tablespoon butter and pat the dough and butter out into a flat circle.

Using a flat hand, gently massage it in circular motions (kind of as if you’re washing a window) to flatten it out into a very large translucent circle. It’s ok if it’s tears, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just try to get it as thin as possible! 

Top with a sprinkling of the ramp greens and then roll it up into one long, skinny log. roll the log into a coil and set it on a plate. repeat with the remaining dough.

roll out the coils into 7" circles by placing them between two pieces of wax paper and rolling with a rolling pin. the dough will probably want to stick to the wax paper, but it's ok if it tears while you're peeling it off. (alternatively, you can stick the coils in the fridge for about 30 minutes, which will make them slightly easier to handle.)

Heat a skillet over medium heat and cook fora few minutes on both sides until golden brown. (Or: see notes above for freezing if you're not cooking them immediately.)

Serve hot with zhoug, labneh, grated tomatoes, and 7-minute eggs. Enjoy!


-yeh!