It’s a tie between ramps and radishes for trendiest vegetable right now, don’t you think?
I’ll come back to radishes later. Let’s start with ramps. I spotted some at the farmers market on Saturday and planned a Sunday dinner around them. I wanted to taste the hype.
Ramps aren’t typically farmed or intentionally grown. They are gathered by foraging, the practice of finding edible plants that grow in the wild. Ramps are essentially wild leeks—they have a similar texture and mild garlicky taste.
Because you have to know where to look and what to look for, foraged food like ramps and the people who gather it are curiously popular at the moment. Ramps are available for just a few weeks in the spring, adding to their mystique.
The easiest way to prepare ramps is by sauteeing them—this lets the natural flavor shine. With their built-in garlic flavor, a little wine or vinegar is all you need to add. Ramps turned out to be an awesome side for last night’s dinner. Here’s a peek, and some notes on preparation:
RAMPS, TWO WAYS
The bulbs (at the bottom of the plate) were prepared separate from the leafy tops (at the top of the plate).
For the bulbs: Sautee in a pan with olive oil and butter on medium-high until the bulbs have browned and blistered, about 5 minutes. Mix a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar with a bit of agave nectar syrup to taste, and pour the mixture over the bulbs. Stir to coat, and cook for another minute or so.
For the leafy tops: Wilt in a pan with olive oil. Add a few splashes of white wine at the end and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
Heat a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, pat ancho chili powder (dark and flavorful, but not spicy) onto both sides of the meat. Dry rubs are a great way to add flavor and it only takes two seconds, versus a think-ahead marinade. When the pan is hot, add the flank steak. Cook, flip, cook. We added a few spoonfuls of salsa roja to the top for serving, but it could go without.
Nothing fancy here. Just really good spears from a local farmer, tossed with olive oil and roasted for 20 minutes or so in a 350-degree oven.
We have a craaazy amount of mint growing in the corner of our backyard, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with it. Using a few leaves at a time in cocktails is the current solution. Muddle mint and the zest and the juice of half a lime in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass. Add a shot or two of vodka, then fill the glass with ice. Top off with grapefruit soda (we used San Pellegrino’s Pompelmo) and give it a stir.