Archives for category: Ramps

IMG_3396

What better way to celebrate spring than waking up early on a Saturday morning, going to your nearest farmers’ market, and buying up a big bundle of fragrant ramps?

I think because of their popularity the price of ramps have gone up since last year. Now, instead of $3 a bunch, which was about 1/4 pound, they are $15 per pound at the Fort Greene farmers’ market. C’est la vie. It’s one of those times I feel a wee bit silly as a New Yorker—paying for over-priced seasonal vegetables at the market, because, well, that’s the only way I can get them. Well, not the only way—last year my friend picked them wild upstate and I made this ramp butter. The year before I gave you a recipe for linguine with ramps.

This is the second weekend I’ve bought ramps at the market and I imagine they’ll be around for at least one more week, making it to next weekend’s market for perhaps the last time this year.

This year inspired in part by David Tanis’s article in the Times on fried eggs and ramps, I wanted to keep it simple. So last night I made bulgogi with whole sautéed ramps eaten in lettuce leaves with Sriracha and thinly sliced cucumbers. This morning for brunch I made a quick omelette with sautéed ramps, this time chopped up not whole, and a salty sheep’s milk cheese from Turkey (beyaz penir), similar to feta. Use the entire ramp—stem and leaf—just remember to clean the ramps thoroughly and chop off the roots.

Omelette with Ramps and Feta

Serves 2

4 eggs
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound ramps, cleaned and trimmed
2 ounces beyaz penir or feta, crumbled
salt and pepper
Sriracha, to serve
Cucumbers, thinly sliced, to serve

In a medium bowl, whisk four eggs with the milk. Add a little bit of salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small oven-proof skillet.

Turn the broiler of your oven on (on low if you have the option).

Chop the stems of the ramps into small slices and set aside. Chop the green leafy tops into small ribbons. When the pan is hot toss in the chopped stems of the ramps and lower the heat, sauteéing for one or two minutes. Add the ribbons of leafy greens to the pan, sauté for another minute, then add the eggs. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese on top. Do not stir or scramble, just let the bottom of the eggs cook for about two minutes undisturbed.

Transfer the skillet carefully to your oven (or underside of your oven if that’s where your broiler is) and cook the top of the eggs for three to five minutes, until it just starts to brown and puff up. It’s quite a beautiful thing!

Serve with spicy Sriracha and sliced cucumbers.

IMG_3390

Advertisements

What do you say when a friend hand delivers you hand-picked ramps?

You say THANK YOU! And perhaps, I’m sorry you had to carry these stinky alliums around all day.

My friend Paul brought me beautiful, pungent ramps that he foraged with a trowel from a hillside near his home in Phoenicia, New York, in the Catskill Moutains. I haven’t been to the farmer’s market much lately so I was very grateful to receive the muddy gift. We met at a friend’s art show Thursday night, and by the time I arrived, an hour late, the ramp’s aroma had permeated the entire gallery.

Ramps are only in season in these parts from roughly the end of April to the second week of May, if you’re lucky. They come and go in a flash before wearing out their welcome. I think they’re in season for the perfect amount of time—long enough for you to enjoy them in scrambled eggs and pesto and maybe biscuits, but not long enough to get sick of them (I’m lookin at you zucchini). They make a graceful exit just as you’re fantasizing about what you’ll make next. Ramp risotto?

Exactly one year ago I wrote here about linguine with ramps. This year I thought I’d try something different. My friend Katherine recently mentioned that, at Reynards in the new Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, she’d eaten radishes on toast that had been slathered with ramp butter. Genius! Jill was coming for brunch today so I thought: ramp butter, toast, and runny eggs.

Turns out, kitchen maven April Bloomfield has a recipe for ramp butter (with quail eggs) in her delectable cookbook A Girl And Her Pig, which I used as a guiding light.

The lemon zest and lemon juice are just the addition to cut the richness of the butter. The ramps definitely make their presence known without being overly sharp, a result of sautéing them for two minutes. I plan on using the leftover ramp butter over pasta. It would be delicious slathered over biscuits or scones, or on dark rye bread with those radishes, anything with a bite.

It’s nice having a personal ramp dealer. I will not share his beeper number with you so don’t even ask. Get your own forager!

Ramp Butter

1/4 pound ramps, cleaned, roots trimmed
11 tbsp unsalted butter
zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of chili flakes
3 anchovies, rinsed and minced (optional)
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and peper

Thinly slice the bulbs and stems of the ramps, and set aside. Slice the greens and toss some of these with the bulbs and stems, reserving the rest. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet and when hot add the ramp bulbs and stems and some of the greens and sauté for two minutes, stirring often.

Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining butter, lemon zest and juice, a pinch of chili flakes, anchovies, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. I ended up squeezing a bit more lemon juice into the mixture. Blend this and when mixed, add the remaining chopped ramp greens, stir again. You can serve this on toast or over pasta, and I imagine it would taste great tucked under the skin of a chicken before roasting.

I know what you’re thinking: that sounds amazing.

Tonight I came home to a fridge full of perishable goodies I wanted to use up: broccoli I picked up from the co-op Monday, Niman Ranch ham, ramps (got ’em!), brown rice, and remember that over-wintered spinach from breakfast the other day? What to do…

This is one of those times you hope to get away with a “kitchen sink” meal – a little of this, a little of that, just enough inventiveness that it might work. I think it did. Bonus: this is practically a one-pot meal. This is not meant to be a recipe to follow precisely, but rather an approach to a quick, tasty meal using what you already have on hand. You can substitute any number of the ingredients below for what’s in your fridge.

I toasted 1 tbsp of sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, then removed from heat and set aside. In a large skillet I warmed 1-2 tbsp olive oil then added the white stems of thoroughly washed ramps, sautéing for about five minutes. To this I added small florets of broccoli and cooked, uncovered, adding small amounts of water to steam and cook the broccoli.

At this point you could add a handful of marinated tofu, cut into small cubes (mine was marinated in sesame oil, red pepper flakes, lime juice, garlic, and soy sauce). I know tofu turns some people off so don’t bother with it if you don’t like it. Once nicely browned I added 1 tbsp fresh lime juice and 1 tsp lime zest to the mixture, and additional red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, to taste.

Since I had this gorgeous Niman Ranch ham on hand I cut a piece of it into small cubes and added it to the pan, just to reheat. Then in went the cooked brown rice, turning up the heat to get a nice crust on the rice, leaving the pan uncovered, followed by a large handful of spinach, chopped, and the ramp leaves, cut crosswise in thirds, just to wilt, about 1-2 minutes.

At the last minute I cracked an egg over the dish, turned off the heat, and mixed all together, using the egg as a sauce. Top with the toasted sesame seeds and serve.

For kicks I’m sharing some photos from around Union Square today: the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck! I would’ve stopped for a cone but the line was down the block. Has anyone tried it? And the Andy Warhol statue by Rob Pruitt, which I was delighted to discover had been appropriately adorned with…Campbell’s soup cans. Wish I’d thought of that.

%d bloggers like this: