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.