4.27.2009

Ramps for Breakfast

Ramps, ramps, ramps! That's all I've been hearing for the past couple weeks as spring gets itself sprung here in New York and the first fresh green things hit the farmer's markets. I missed these last season, and I don't think I'd even heard of them before then, so I was determined to get my hands on some. Fort Greene Farmer's Market to the rescue. An impromptu bike ride in the unseasonal 80 degree weather got me there in no time. The ramps were expensive, but I played it off like no big deal when the handsome young man at the stand told me 10 bucks for two scallion - sized bunches. "They're foraged, you know," he said. Ah, foraged = $$.


Ramps are native to North America and are also known as wild leeks. Their flavor is somewhere between onions and garlic. I decided that breakfast was in order. Since I'm always looking for different beds for my favorite breakfast staple, poached eggs, I decided to saute them along with some Swiss chard and Vidalia onions I had on hand. I used an entire bunch in this single serving and I found it totally delicious, but feel free to alter the proportions with your other greens. Also, some sort of breakfast potato would put this over the top awesome-wise.

Sauteed Ramps & Chard with Poached Eggs
2 eggs
1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

olive oil (I used 1 teaspoon bacon fat that I had left over from the insane amount of bacon that I cooked for the Bacon Takedown.)
1 bunch ramps, cleaned and trimmed
2 large leaves of chard
1/2 small onion, diced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the water for your poached eggs on over high heat. Add the vinegar and salt.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high. Cut the leaves off the the ramps and into 1 inch slices and set aside. Dice up the stalks like you would with scallions. Do the same thing with the chard, setting the leaves aside with the ramp leaves. When the skillet is heated, add the onion and the diced stalks of the ramps and chard. Cook, stirring until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the sliced leaves of the ramps and chard and cook until wilted another 2-3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, vinegar, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, once the water is boiling for the poached eggs, add them gently, turn off the heat, cover and set a timer for 3 1/2 minutes. Pile the sauteed ramp mixture onto a plate. Check the eggs when the timer goes off and if the whites look done enough for your taste, carefully remove with a slotted spoon and place atop the greens.

7 comments:

Maggie said...

oh, yum. those eggs look perfect!

Charles G Thompson said...

Not sure why exactly but I am also unfamiliar with ramps but keep hearing about them! So they're leeks. I love leeks. Great post. Nice blog. Hope to meet you at the IFBC in Seattle next month.

feedmela said...

love this

dawn said...

sounds delicious...wanna try it...right away i'm gonna get the ingredients from www.myethnicworld.com and try it...thanks for sharing.

DocChuck said...

Your dish DOES look delicious, and as a "ramp" expert, I am confident that it is.

But, I have to laugh a bit at the recent infatuation with what we in the mountainous areas of the Eastern U.S. used to cut down with our lawnmowers --- the wild leek, now marketed as a ramp and being peddled at ridiculous prices in New York City.

On my farm in upstate New York they are a nuisance weed of sorts. Of course, for at least 25 years, I have always pickled "put up" a few pints of ramps every spring (shortly after the snow melt). And, yes, we have used "ramps" sparingly in salads and even mixed with our leafy greens dishes.

However, I never thought I would see the day that the lowly wild leek would become a "gourmet" item and dazzle so many "big city" folks.

Eat on and be merry.

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Melissa Sands said...

Maggie - thanks!

Charles - Can't wait for the IFBC. See you there.

DocChuck - Thanks, it was a delicious breakfast. We are lucky here in the big city to have really great access to amazing produce through the many farmer's markets throughout the five boroughs. I assure you, there are no wild leeks growing in my neighborhood of Bed-Stuy! So, yes, I pay a premium for treats that you usually mow over! I did hear that they were much cheaper at Whole Foods - what a surprise - but I would rather support a local farmer who is struggling to make a living selling the fruit ( & veg) of his or her labor.

I grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania, so I'm not completely ignorant about where food comes from. Still, I get excited to try new things - fancy or plain, from my neighbor's garden or the specialty store.

Some of the best food I've ever eaten I picked myself. I don't have that opportunity here in the city, so I get my ass out of bed on Saturday mornings to buy local and organic where possible. I love to be dazzled by food - luckily for me, there seem to be plenty of things out there I have yet to try.