From COOK THIS NOW by Melissa Clark. Copyright © 2011, Melissa Clark, Inc. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.
Springtime is all about sharp, raw, biting greens-ramps, chives, nettles-flavors to wake you up after winter's starchy slumber; flavors that say, hey, the snow is melting and here I come, up to the sun. I embrace this. I always buy as many ramps as I can and I find many uses for them. In this recipe, they're sautéed with asparagus, lemon wedges, and eggs. It's one of those odd-sounding but serendipitous combinations, each ingredient bolstering the next-the oniony ramps sweetening the earthy asparagus, which are brightened by the lemon. And the eggs add richness to all. I made this about a dozen times last spring when all the ingredients were in season, and now that they're gone, I'm counting the days until I can make it again. It's that good.
Photo by Andrew Scrivani.
Serves 2 to 4
1. Remove the leaves from the ramps and finely chop them; thinly slice the white bulbs.
- 1 bunch ramps (about 4 ounces), bottoms trimmed
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus additional for seasoning
- 3 thin lemon slices, each round cut into 8 wedges
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1/2 pound), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 large eggs
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle the skillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and lemon wedges and cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
3. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet. Stir in the asparagus, chopped ramp leaves, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the asparagus is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Scrape the mixture onto a plate.
4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet. Crack the eggs into the skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook the eggs until the edges are set, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook until the eggs are completely set, about 1 minute more. Serve the eggs immediately, topped with the warm asparagus mixture.
o I've made this using chopped-up preserved lemons instead of the fresh triangles, and it's even better, if you happen to have preserved lemons sitting in your fridge. We always have them in ours; Daniel went through a spate of making his own and we got addicted. You can find them in Middle Eastern stores, and more and more large grocery stores are carrying them. Meyer lemons, preserved or otherwise, work gorgeously here, too.
o When ramp season is done, try using a combination of leeks and garlic as a substitute.
o If you can get your hands on some plump morels, which are often on offer at the farmers' market in spring, wipe them down with a damp cloth, slice them up, and add them to the pan along with the lemon wedges. You might have to add on a few extra minutes of cooking time since the mushrooms will exude a lot of juice and slow things down. Don't use more than a handful, or the mixture might get too wet.