Sunday, May 3, 2009

Seasonal Spotlight: Ramps and Asparaus Scramble

Getting up and out to the farmers market around 8:00 a.m. has its perks: namely fewer shoppers and the first pick of produce. But last Saturday, the greenmarket was teeming with good stuff, including piles upon piles of ramps. Taking my cue from the area chef making a produce run, I chose the $2.50-a-bunch stand. As I was picking over the pile, two different women stopped me asking what they were. "Oh, ramps? They're like wild leeks. You can saute them, you can grill them," I said authoritatively. Bet neither guessed I had never cooked them before! I also picked up some green and purple asparagus. This time, it was the guy at the stand (I'm guessing NOT the farmer), who asked me if the purple tasted any different from the green. I admitted I had no idea but that the purple sure looked pretty. However, after doing a little research at home, I learned that purple are supposed to be more tender and sweeter. My final haul consisted of two bunches of ramps ($5), a bag of red onions ($1.50), a seedless cucumber ($2), some fingerling potatoes ($.85), and 3/4 lb. of mixed green and purple asparagus ($3).

Back home, I Googled "Bitten + ramp + egg" trying to find The New York Times Bitten food blog

posts about ramps last week. However, I stumbled across a recipe for scrambled eggs with morels, asparagus and ramps at The Bitten Word. The recipe originally from Bon Appetit, was really simple. With some slight tweaking based on the contents of my fridge, I was enjoying breakfast in less than 10 minutes. Now to decide what to do with the rest of my haul...

Spring Scramble Inspired by The Bitten Word and Bon Appetit I steamed the asparagus to speed up the cooking time and learned the hard way that the purple stalks discolor easily (which is why most recommend using them raw in salads). Ingredients 3 Ramps, bulbs and greens 2 Asparagus stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces 5 Button mushrooms, sliced 2 Egg whites 1 T. Grated Parmesan Butter Salt Pepper Method In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt a blob of butter and start the mushrooms; do not season until they start to brown. In the meantime, steam asparagus on the stove top or in the microwave. Wash ramps very well (as you would leeks); chop and separate whites and greens. Once the mushrooms have some color, add ramp whites and sauté until softened. Add steamed asparagus and greens to skillet, season with salt and pepper; sauté until greens are wilted. Add egg whites and cook until just set. Season with extra pepper; finish with a grating of Parmesan.

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