Sunday, April 18, 2010

WILD Ramps.....

I bought my first bunch of ramps roughly two years ago, and at the time I literally had no idea what they were. While I am not usually in the habit of following the crowd, when I saw the long line of hungry, feverish eyes, I obediently joined the end of the queue; I was pretty upset that they were keeping a secret from me, and I was intent on getting to the bottom of it. The link above provides an in-depth description, but basically they are wild leeks, with a flavor reminiscent of a garlic/onion cross. Second coming of the lord they are not, but they are certainly worth the often sizable line required to obtain them. Local, seasonal, and delicious, they can be prepared in a number of ways. Since they became available about three weeks ago, I've had them in omelets, pesto, and  grilled in all their naked glory, but this week I decided to slip them into a potato-leek recipe for one of the last chilly days of spring.

The below is quite easy, and relatively quick, I served it along side some grilled cheese sandwiches with some fresh heirloom tomatoes.

Ingredients (serves 4):
4c chopped ramps (2-3 bunches)
4c chopped potatoes (I used 1/2 la ratte and 1/2 la rouge)
4c chicken broth
1/2 a medium onion (diced)
8 oysters
2 garlic cloves (minced)
white vinegar (preferably champagne)
Salt & Pepper

Peel and chop the potatoes, and then throw them in a pot of salted water to rest as you prepare the other ingredients. Clean and chop the ramps, basically you are just removing the roots and dirt, you are going to want to use the entire ramp in this recipe. Heat a few tbsp's of butter, or duck
fat if you have it, in a heavy bottomed pan and add the garlic, onions, and ramps. Sweat the veggies for a few minutes, but stir occasionally to assure that they don't brown. Now drain and add the potatoes, cooking for an additional 8-10 minutes, all the while watching to make sure they don't brown.
Add the chicken broth, and bring the entire thing to a low simmer, cooking until the potatoes
are finished through, approx 30 minutes. Now add the ingredients to a blender, or food processor and liquefy, emptying into a clean pot. Return to a simmer, adding the vinegar, salt and pepper a little bit at a time, to achieve the appropriate flavor....tasting things as you cook should be mandatory.

Now you want to shuck the oysters, a task that may not prove that easy at first, adding two raw oysters, and the liquor (oyster liquid) to the bottom of the bowl. Ladle the hot soup on top, and add just a dash of cream or creme fraiche. Serve.
All ingredients were sourced from within 100 miles, excluding the organic broth, and sustainably farmed oysters.

1 comment:

  1. Looks fantastic, I'd recommend using a larger west coast oyster next time or a mild-not-so-briney east coast.

    Any leftovers?!?!?