eat in my kitchen

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Tag: ramp pesto

Froga tat-Tarja – Maltese Pasta Frittata with spicy Green Pesto

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A few weeks ago, my boyfriend told my about this Maltese classic from his childhood days: Froga tat-Tarja, a golden pan fried pasta omelette. This is the essence of Southern comfort food, it works all year round, but I mixed in some spicy green pesto which gave it a fresh spring feel. I must admit that my initial plan was to go for basil pesto but my little Mediterranean kitchen plant looked too sad. I can see it trying so hard (and hopelessly) to grow more leaves so I couldn’t bring myself to rip it up and leave it naked with only some slim stalks stuck into the soil.

I also had some rucola left and could have easily turned that into an aromatic pesto but you can imagine what happened next, ramp came to mind as always at this time of year and all other green pesto options were kicked out in a split second. It’s garlicky spiciness combined with its really short season make it simply irresistible to me. So if you have any green pesto, some eggs and leftover pasta lying around in your kitchen, whisk it together, throw it in a pan like a pancake and fry until golden brown. Wonderfully easy comfort cooking, thanks to the leftovers!

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 Froga tat-Tarja – Maltese Pasta Frittata with spicy Green Pesto

leftover spaghetti or capelli di angelo, cold, 120g / 4 1/4oz
organic eggs, beaten, 2
ramp pesto, or any other green pesto, 1 heaped tablespoon plus more for the topping
(recipe here)
salt 1/2 teaspoon
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar, to taste
parmesan, grated, for the topping
olive oil

Whisk the eggs, salt, pepper and pesto and mix with the pasta. Heat a splash of olive oil in a small pan (21cm / 8″) and fry the egg pasta like an omelette until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with parmesan and a little more pesto, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

pestopastaomelette3

 

pestopastaomelette4

Sardine and Lemon Sandwich with Ramp Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

Preserved Sardines and Lemons Sandwich

A few months ago, my mother went to one of her favourite spots in France, the Belle-Île-en Mer, a picturesque island off the coast of Brittany. It wasn’t her first visit, she’s been to this tiny rock in the Atlantic Ocean countless times, and whenever I talk to her while she’s there, she sounds like she just walked out of a spa. This island must be magic and I’ve wanted to discover it for myself for ages. I’ve tasted it though, at least some of it’s produce. My mama knows my weak spot for all the culinary delights from this country, solid and liquid, so she gladly treats her ever hungry daughter to her new and old discoveries whenever she comes back. Last time she gave me a few beautiful tins of preserved sardines, the design is a bit old-fashioned, I love that, although it’s just a fish tin, it’s a pleasure to see it in the pantry. Once she gave me a large can of tinned fish soup from the same island, I liked it so much that it became my container for the kitchen brush and sponge!

The first time I tasted the preserved sardines refined with thin slices of lemon, it must have been early last winter, I got absolutely hooked on this oily treat. I’ve never been a big fan of preserved fish until that life changing moment, literarily, as since that day, I always eat my weekly Sunday pizza with these sardines, week after week. But today I thought they deserve a little variation. I had to change to another brand as our stock has been used up, it’s not as good but still delicious, and I decided that the fish would make a scrumptious appearance on a juicy sandwich with ramp pesto and preserved lemons. It’s that time of year again, I can’t leave the grocery store without a bunch of ramp, due to their short season but mainly because we’re almost addicted to it. So, another ramp pesto, another tin of sardines and a new sandwich, the kind you would eat at the sea, wrapped in paper, your fingers dripping of oil, and the wonderful taste of garlicky green, sour lemon and rich sardines in your mouth, fantastic!

This sandwich has been featured by Food52!

Sardine Lemon Pesto Sandwich

 

Preserved Sardines and Lemons Sandwich

Sardine and Lemon Sandwich with Ramp Pesto and Cherry Tomatoes

For 2 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 2
quality preserved sardines in olive oil, boned and cut into fillets, 3 fish (about 70g / 2 1/2oz)
preserved lemon, cut into thin slices, 1/8
(alternatively, you could use the roasted lemon peel from this recipe)
cherry tomatoes, quartered, 2
rucola, a small handful

For the pesto
(this will be a little more than you’ll need but you can eat the pesto with pasta or as a spread on toasted dark bread)
bunch of ramp, the stalks cut off, 1 (around 45g /  1 1/2oz)
parmesan 25g / 1oz
olive oil 55ml /2fl oz
salt 1/4 teaspoon

Mix the ingredients for the pesto in a blender until smooth and season to taste.

Brush the bottom half of the buns with a little oil from the fish tin (just if it’s quality olive oil), cover with rucola and lay 3 single fillets of the sardines on top. Garnish with the tomatoes and sprinkle with pesto and lemon slices.

Preserved Sardines and Lemons Sandwich

 

Preserved Sardines and Lemons Sandwich

 

Sardine Lemon Pesto Sandwich

A juicy Lamb Burger with Ramp Pesto

Hamburger with Lamb and Ramp Pesto

Yesterday I mentioned that nothing can escape my appetite for ramp, not even a burger! At first, my plan was to add just a few spices and leave the focus on the strong lamb meat. A juicy hamburger with tomato and lettuce, simple and pure, that was my idea, but when I saw the bowl with yesterday’s ramp pesto on my kitchen top I remembered a beef burger I had made two weeks ago with pesto mixed into the burger mixture and it was so good that I couldn’t resist! I had to make it again and added it to the lamb meat. The pesto doesn’t only add its flavours but it also effects the texture and makes the burger very, very juicy.

Usually, for my sandwiches on Wednesdays I measure the amounts for a quick lunch for 2, but I knew that this would have to be a proper dinner. It’s so good that you can’t stop after one burger! So I got 600g / 21 ounces of minced lamb meat and mixed it with 1 egg, 40g / 1.5 ounces of bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons of salt and ground black pepper. I stirred in 3 tablespoons of my ramp pesto (you can find the recipe here), but you could use any other pesto which matches the taste of the meat. When I made the beef burger I only added 2 tablespoons of the pesto as the meat isn’t as strong as lamb so I put in an extra one. To keep the meat juicy while its frying I form thick burgers. We had 6 which I fried in 2 tablespoons of butter and some olive oil, on high temperature which I turned down to medium immediately after I put the burgers in the pan. After a couple minutes on each side they turned a crisp brown, but still juicy inside.

We put the burgers in some crunchy buns together with thin slices of tomato, a leaf of green lettuce and sprinkled them with some more pesto – and then we ate them all!

Hamburger with Lamb and Ramp Pesto

 

Hamburger with Lamb and Ramp Pesto

 

Hamburger with Lamb and Ramp Pesto

Spicy Ramp Pesto with Spaghetti

Pasta with Ramp Pesto

When I wrote about my wild garlic soup two weeks ago, a couple of the more attentive followers of eat in my kitchen told me that “ramp” is the more common name for my beloved “wild garlic”. I’m happy they let me know and to avoid confusion I will change its name in my recipes to “ramp”. “Wild garlic” has a bit of an adventurous touch, I like that, it fits to its distinct taste but if only a few know it as such then I have to compromise.

At the moment, this plant is at its seasonal peak. The long leaves cover the moist ground in the forests, filling the air with their beautiful smell of fresh green onions. When I go to the market, I buy ramp in bulk as I’m a bit obsessed with it. I even start my shopping earlier in the morning just to make sure that I get enough of the little bunches for all the recipes I have in mind. The recipe I make the most (at least once a week) is a pesto, spicy and very strong in taste, great with pasta or spread on toasted dark bread which is an absolutely delicious snack! In the fridge, it stays fresh for a few days so I always prepare a big bowl.

For my pesto, I use the leaves of 2 bunches of ramp (around 90g /  3 ounces), rinsed and dried well, and mix them in a blender with 110ml of olive oil, 50g / 2 ounces of parmesan and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You could add some pine nuts but I find them too weak to come through, I prefer to concentrate on the ramp and the cheese. When we eat the pesto with spaghetti or linguine I add some crushed pepper and more grated parmesan on the warm pasta.

Tomorrow I will write about a burger which didn’t manage to escape my ramp obsession!

Pasta with Ramp Pesto

 

Pasta with Ramp Pesto

 

Pasta with Ramp Pesto