Having barely recovered from my ramp-less excursion to the grocery store yesterday, I opened my New York Times Dining Section this morning only to find a recipe for... yes... ramps. How could this be? How could every cook in the universe be getting ramps, yet I was ramp-less?
Alright, I admit that I'm not Melissa Clark or Ina Garten, but I'm an above average cook and I wanted ramps. Bad. Real bad.
My desire to acquire ramps took on mythic proportions. Where could I get them? How could I get them? I was a woman possessed. Meth addicts are less desperate than I was this morning to get my hands on a couple of ounces of ramps.
I decided that maybe Whole Foods would be my ticket to ramp acquisition. As I was driving to the gym I called Mike, the produce manager my local Whole Foods. (As an aside, knowing your produce manager is almost as important as having a good butcher.) Mike said the three words I was longing to hear. "We have ramps."
Come to mama.
It was only my overwhelming desire to have a flat stomach ,and thinner thighs that propelled me to the gyn instead of directly to Whole Foods. I did my hour on the treadmill and off I went to see Mike.
I decided not to tempt fate with another ill-fated pizza and opted instead for Melissa Clark's Focaccia with Ramps. I bought a new jar of yeast, so as not to repeat yesterday's unrisen dough episode. I was ready to roll.
And boy did I roll. And knead. And knead some more. The result was a delicious focaccia bread studded with the now mythic ramps. The bread was tender and had just a hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. In a word, it was sublime.
Now, having achieved ramp success, I need more ramps. Lots more.
At least now I know where to go to get my fix.
Recipe: Focaccia Dough
(Melissa Clark, New York Times, April 24, 2013)
3 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
11 grams kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
10 grams sugar (2 teaspoons)
515 grams all-purpose flour (about 4 cups), more as needed
130 grams whole wheat flour (about 1 cup)
Place 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105 to 115 degrees) in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast over it. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Stir oil, salt and sugar into yeast mixture. Stir in all-purpose and whole-wheat flour until a soft dough forms (you may need to add more all-purpose flour).
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, or knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook attached for about 5 minutes. If using a stand mixer, finish dough by hand, on a floured surface, for 1 minute. Add more all-purpose flour if dough feels very sticky (you want damp but not unworkable dough).
Oil a large bowl. Place dough in bowl and turn to coat it lightly with oil. Cover bowl with a dish towel. Leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Divide dough into 3 equal-size balls. Tightly wrap in plastic any you are not planning to use right away and freeze. Transfer remaining balls to a baking sheet and cover loosely with a towel. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
YIELD 3 balls of dough (for 9-inch focaccias)
Recipe: Ramp Focaccia
3 ounces ramps
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon chile flakes
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet until very hot. Quickly sauté whole ramp bulbs until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Pour bulbs and their oil over chopped leaves and toss with salt and chile flakes. Pour 3 tablespoons oil into bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Pat dough evenly into pan, leaving a small gap between dough and edges of pan. Press ramp mixture into dough. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
YIELD 1 (9-inch) focaccia