01 09 10

search you little tarte

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Live and Learn

The ramps are the green things.
I have to come clean here.  Before I lived in Pittsburgh I had never heard of ramps.  I had no idea what they were.  And you know what?  I didn't know enough about them to care.

Back then I didn't have a food blog.  Back then I rotated the same four or five recipes every week or two.  Back then, my idea of cooking was sprinkling chicken with lemon pepper and throwing it into the broiler.  We did not eat an exciting menu, but it was fine.  And you know what?  Sometimes fine is fine enough.

Now that I'm a self appointed food professional (meaning I have a blog and I can follow a recipe), I'm all about the ingredients.  I'm always on the search for something new and my bedtime reading is often a cookbook.  You have to understand.  The blog is like a three eyed monster.  I have to keep feeding it or, in the case of the blog, it will wither away and lose loyal readers.  In the case of the monster, well,  he wouldn't wither away but things could certainly be unpleasant.

But back to the ramps.  Just today, I was chatting it up with Deborah and I mentioned ramps.  "What," she asked "are ramps?"  Now I could have gotten all hoity toity on her, and behaved as though everyone (except her) knew what a ramp was.  But she knows me really well and she would have known that I was full of shit.  (Can you believe that I just used the word shit on a food blog?)

So, for those of you who don't know what a ramp is, here goes:

The ramp, sometimes called wild leek, is a wild onion native to North America. Though the bulb resembles that of a scallion, the beautiful flat, broad leaves set it apart.  (Courtesy of About.com)

And these are ramps:

You see, they kind of resemble scallions but they're more slender and pack a real garlicky punch although they are more closely related to onions.

 So now that we've had our little science lesson for the day, I though you might want to jump out to the grocery store and pick up some ramps for dinner tonight.  They're only available for a short time so buy a bunch.  The keep well in the frig and are delicious in eggs if you have any left over.

See, you learn something new every day.

Recipe: Roasted Chicken, Ramps, and Potatoes
(Gourmet,  April 2000)


3/4 pound ramps
1 (3- to 3‚-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth


Preheat oven to 500°F.

Trim roots from ramps and slip off outer skin on bulbs if loose. Cut off and reserve leaves, leaving white bulbs attached to slender pink stems.

Put leaves and bulbs in separate bowls.

Pat chicken dry. Put in a flameproof large shallow roasting pan, without crowding, and surround with potatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and rub all over to coat evenly. Arrange chicken skin sides up and season with salt and pepper. Roast in upper third of oven 20 minutes.

Toss bulbs with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and season with salt. Scatter bulbs around chicken and roast mixture until breast pieces are just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer breast pieces to a platter and keep warm. Roast remaining chicken and vegetables 5 minutes more, or until cooked through. Transfer to platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. (If crisper skin is desired, broil chicken only, skin sides up, about 2 minutes.)

Pour off fat from roasting pan and straddle pan across 2 burners. Add wine and deglaze pan by cooking over high heat, scraping up brown bits.

Boil wine until reduced to about 1/4 cup and add broth. When broth boils, add ramp leaves and stir until wilted and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and add to chicken. Boil pan juices until reduced to about 1/2 cup and pour around chicken.

No comments:

Post a Comment