ASPARAGUS MATZA BREI

There is nothing that says spring more than fresh asparagus, and when it’s used for this delicious asparagus matzah brei recipe, all is well with my world.

There is an age-old question: sweet or savory? Do you prefer your matzah brei with powdered sugar, jam, honey or anything sweet on it or do you like it with some salt and pepper and call it a day?

I’m a savory girl, always have been and always will be. So, this recipe is perfect. We’re combining steamed asparagus pieces with sautéed onions, mixing that with beaten eggs and soaked matzah and frying the whole shebang like a frittata. And I threw in an easy and yummy salad recipe as a bonus. It doesn’t get much better than this, as far as I’m concerned.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, along with your Passover holiday!

Asparagus Matzah Brei

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

½ pound thin to medium asparagus

plus 3 extra stalks

3 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil

1 cup onions, thinly sliced

5 sheets matzah, broken into

approximately 2-by-2-inch pieces

6 large eggs, beaten

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

to taste

Freshly grated Swiss cheese, optional

Snap the ends off of the asparagus where they break naturally. Cut all asparagus except 3 stalks into 1-inch lengths. Set aside the 3 stalks. Steam or boil asparagus until just cooked, about three minutes. If boiling, refresh in a bowl of ice water and then drain. Dry well.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove onions from the skillet and combine with the asparagus. Wipe out the skillet.

Meanwhile, place 3 stalks of asparagus on a microwavable plate and microwave for 1 minute.

Soak matzah in a bowl of hot water for about 1 minute. Drain and squeeze as much water out of the matzah as possible and place in a large bowl. Mix the eggs with the matzah. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the asparagus and onions.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter or oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Place the three remaining stalks of asparagus decoratively in the skillet. Carefully add the matzah mixture and cook until the mixture sets on the bottom and around the edges. Holding a large plate over the skillet, flip both the plate and skillet together so that the matzah brei is on the plate. Gently slide it back into the skillet to cook, about 5 minutes. When nicely browned, slide onto serving platter.

Cut into wedges and serve. Total time is 20 minutes.

Maple-roasted carrot salad

Makes 4 Servings for lunch, 6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

2 pounds carrots, preferably with leafy tops

Good olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup pure Grade A maple syrup

⅔ cup dried cranberries

⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

(2 oranges)

3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane

6 ounces baby arugula

6 ounces goat cheese, such as Montrachet,

medium-diced

⅔ cup roasted, salted marcona almonds

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Trim and scrub the carrots.

If the carrots are more than 1 inch in diameter, cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the carrots in large diagonal slices 1 inch wide by 2 inches long (they will shrink when they roast) and place in a medium bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.

Toss well and transfer to two sheet pans. (If you use just one, they’ll steam instead of roasting.)

Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender. Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup, toss and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are caramelized. Watch them carefully and toss with a metal spatula and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, then set aside for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (with their liquid), goat cheese, almonds and the vinaigrette.

Toss with large spoons, sprinkle with salt, and serve at room temperature.

Total time is 55 minutes. JN

Francine Coles is a food blogger based in Phoenix. Find more of her food insights at thefancypantskitchen.com. Subscribe for free and receive a complimentary dessert e-book, “Hey Sugar.”