The Lady and the Ramp
It’s finally starting to feel like Spring, and that means green things like asparagus, fiddlehead ferns, ramps and green garlic are readily available, but only for a fleeting few weeks.
Enjoy them while you can, sauteed with some slivers of lemon, and topped with a just-cooked fried heirloom egg (yes, the particular ones used here are a lovely shade of pale blue). Pile the whole colorful result onto buttered toast and call it lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast. Or snack. Hey, ramps only come but once a year.
Panfried Asparagus and Fiddlehead Ferns with Ramps and Lemon
If you cannot find ramps, you can substitute 2 sliced shallots for the ramp bulbs and a handful of chopped chives for the leaves. If you can find ramps, buy lots. They store quite well and they’re pretty much the most delicious vegetable on earth.
- 1 bunch ramps (about 4 ounces), roots trimmed
- 3 Tb unsalted butter
- 3/4 tsp salt (or dulce), plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 thin lemon slices, each round cut into 8 wedges
- 1 large bunch asparagus (about 1/2 lb), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 handfuls of fiddlehead ferns, ends trimmed (don’t collect these yourself unless you really know what ostrich ferns look like)
Remove the leaves from the ramps and finely chop them; thinly slice the white bulbs.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and lemon wedges and cook, stirring until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the asparagus, fiddleheads, ramp leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and cook, checking and stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is tender, 4-5 minutes.