Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ramps Over Quinoa

So long root vegetables.  You've kept me full of sustenance in my wool socks, warding off chills during those long, dark, winter nights.  I've roasted you, you've obliged, and you've nourished me.  I'm thankful for that.  But spring has sprung.  Tender baby greens are popping up, including this recent discovery with a most peculiar name.  Are you familiar with ramps?  I wasn't until this past weekend.  The word 'ramp' doesn't exactly conjure images of green vegetables.  Entering and exiting the freeway comes to mind. 

Ramps are a cross between leeks and garlic, which is kind of like heaven if you ask me.  Both the bulbs and green leaves are edible, the tender leaves being a bit milder.  They definitely have a pungent aroma and an onion-meets-garlic flavor.  I'm guessing you're into that sort of thing.  Ramps are cultivated from the wild and have a very short season, as in right now.  So go get some if you can.

After all that winter roasting, what could be better than a quick sauté?  I threw this together for lunch in a matter of minutes.  Sometimes I just need to get out of my own way.  I find that when I keep ingredients to a minimum and cook what's in season, it almost always works out.  Cooking just feels right when approached this way.  It's the over thinking and over planning that's cause for trouble.  I suppose this practice could be applied in other aspects of life as well.  If only I could stop over thinking about over thinking.  Now that would be something.  It's a good thing cooking quiets my mind.

I served the ramps over a bed of quinoa with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  I had some leftover chickpeas and served those alongside.  No long ingredient list, no overworking, and no trouble really.  Once sautéed, ramps taste slightly sweet like an onion, but also have a woodsy quality.  I have no idea what this might do for my breath, but it's a chance I'm willing to take.  If you wanted to make a meal out of this, you could certainly add a poached egg on top of each serving.  I wish I thought of that earlier.  Can't you just picture it?  The yolk oozing over the ramps and into the quinoa?  Next time.  

~Ramps Over Quinoa Recipe~

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 lb ramps, 1 small bunch
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
squeeze of lemon juice
sea salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, add water and quinoa over high heat.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.  To prepare ramps, wash well and cut off roots/ends.  Separate the white parts from the leafy greens.  Slice the white parts into 1/2" or so, pieces.  Slice the greens in thirds.  In a cast iron or skillet pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add white portions of ramps.  Sauté for just under 2 minutes, until lightly brown and translucent.  Add green parts and cook for about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and place over quinoa.  Give it all a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil if you like. Serves 2 as a side.


Epicurea said...

so glad ramps are finally making it to the states! this looks fabulous and i didn't know you could also eat the bulb. we often made a pesto from them which preserves the flavor and is a wonderful addition to salad dressings, over pasta or as a garlicy-flavoring!

Stephanie said...

Are ramps more common where you are? A pesto sounds great! I'd love to know what else I can do with them. I also saw a barley soup recipe with ramps that looked interesting in a magazine.

Abby said...

I love how you let the ramp's flavor just shine through in this fuss-free salad.

Margarita said...

I've never heard of ramps but as you say, a marriage of garlic and leek can't be anything else but heaven. Yes, a poached egg with a little salt, pepper, and paprika on top would be great on this too. I want to find me some ramps!

Eileen said...

We have no ramps in California! Oh well--I guess I will just have to use green garlic. And that poached egg idea sounds perfect with the quinoa and greens.

Amy said...

Ohh I had never heard of ramps until I was watching a Martha Stewart show about a year ago (probably almost exactly a year ago actually!) and Martha was talking about how in New York, she has to "hoard" her ramps because they're so precious and everyone is out to get them! Haha! Despite that hype I have still yet to try them. Sounds deliciously perfect and simple over quinoa!

Megan Newton said...

I've never tried ramps before, they sound great! I'll have to take a look for them.

Epicurea said...

yes, here in germany they have been extremely popular for several years now! people use them for and in everything - they are wonderful in hard cheeses, sausages, you can make soup with them (mixed with fresh spinach), eat them raw on buttered bread, mix them with cottage cheese/ sour cream over baked potatoes... the options are endless!

Colleen @ Culinary Colleen said...

I bookmarked this as soon as I saw the picture! I've been trying to cook with ramps as much as possible before the short season is over, and simple preparations are usually best. Great idea!

Stephanie said...

Amy-that's too funny. Good old Martha! So many great ideas for ramps. I love the baked potato idea. I'll have to give that a try.

Thyme (Sarah) said...

Like a cross b/w leeks and garlic?? You are correct...what is there not to like. This is what I love about blogging. I have NEVER heard of ramps and I'm pretty sure I've never eaten them. Now I cannot wait to look out for them. I think putting them over the quinoa sounds delicious.