Spring has finally sprung and I had my first sighting of ramps at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. If you are new to ramps, they are a mild type of garlic with a slight onion taste that grow in the early spring. They are coveted this time of year and have a very short season.
I came home on a Thursday night with these beautiful ramps but no plan. As I was putting my dough in the bread maker (I have a love affair with making challah in the bread machine) I realized the ramps would create a chimichurri perfect for a spring-inspired stuffed challah.
It is rare that I get to have my parents come for Shabbat so it was an extra pleasure to share this with them. They typically prefer plain challah but both commented on what a great addition this challah was to the spring table. Not only was this challah beautiful with streaks of green throughout, but it was incredibly soft and flavorful. And the smell was just outrageous.
For the ramp chimichurri:
1 bunch of ramps (about 12 stalks)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
For the challah:
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup (scant) oil
2 eggs (reserve a bit to use as glaze)
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp lemon zest
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cup bread flour
1 Tbsp sea salt or flaky salt
1/4 cup Sugar
3 roasted garlic cloves smashed and chopped
1 Tbsp dry yeast
Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips. Slice into big chunks. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender until a smooth paste forms.
Put ingredients into a bread machine in the order listed and set machine on “dough” setting. Let sit in machine 45 – 60 min after the machine has completed it’s cycle. (Sometimes I’ve let it sit a bit longer, all that happens is it begins to burst out of the machine).
Remove dough. Divide challah into 6 even pieces to make two challahs. Roll the first ball out using a rolling pin into a rectangle. Spread about 2 tablespoons of chimichurri evenly onto the dough, but leave ½ inch all around without filling. Working quickly, start rolling up the dough.
Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish. Braid the two challahs.
Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise till doubled in size (about 1/2 hour). Brush top with reserved egg mixed with a little cold water. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt.
Bake at 350 for arond 30 minutes. I usually cover the bread with a foil tent halfway through baking so it doesn’t get too dark.
Pronounced: KHAH-luh, Origin: Hebrew, ceremonial bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.