Edmonton, rejoice! Spring is finally here and every cook in the city is excited to be getting the new vegetables of the year! The very first thing to pop out of the soil is the humble and pungent ramp; a wonderfully aromatic cross between the flavors of garlic and green onion. Not only are they so beautiful with their thin white bulb blushing to dusty rose and finally finishing with two perfectly shaped, earthy green leaves, they can also be used in a myriad of different places in the kitchen. Can you tell I am a little in love?
The first year of Linnea, before we were even open, ramp season kicked in and my sous chef and I were so excited, we ordered 30 pounds of ramps to start pickling, fermenting, dehydrating and testing with, right there on my living room dining table. Little did I know, that smell would not leave my house for about a year, and every time they are delivered to the restaurant, I have to grin a little bit remembering those first few excited moments.
If you’ve never cooked with ramps before, you really should make a point of finding some at the farmer’s market and giving them a shot. Sauteed with fish, in butter, on toast, with eggs, chopped into pesto, give them all a try. If you’re a fan of garlic and spring onions, these are absolutely perfect for you!
This recipe is one we have put on the menu every spring and it’s all about simplicity and the quality of ingredients combined with simple technique anyone can achieve. The ramps can always be substituted out for other fresh ingredients (think wild mushrooms, asparagus, peas etc) to your liking or as the seasons change as well.
- 12 to 16 ramps, cleaned with the root ends neatly trimmed
- vegetable oil
- 6 eggs, best quality you can find
- 1 TBSP butter
- 1TBSP creme fraiche
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 slices guanciale (or bacon if you can’t find, but the Italian Centre usually has some)
- 4 slices brioche, toasted
- chili oil, optional
On the flattop (or in a very hot pan) pour on some vegetable oil and place your cleaned ramps directly into the oil to get a nice char. The coloring really helps bring out some wonderful nutty characteristics of the little alliums. When nicely browned on one side, carefully flip them over and sprinkle with a bit of salt and finish cooking through, about 2 or 3 minutes a side. Place them aside to keep warm until plating.
Slice your brioche and gently toast on both sides to act as little vessels for all the egg and ramp goodness you are about to eat.
Crack your eggs into a small bowl and whisk to break them up. Melt your butter in a small saucepan until it is nice and foamy and pour in your eggs with the pot off the heat and a heatproof spatula nearby. It is really important to carefully control the temperature at this point; too hot and you have overcooked, scorched eggs, so keep them moving constantly while you move the pot in and out of the heat. Add your creme fraiche and your seasoning at this point and stir through. The cold creme fraiche will help arrest the cooking process a little, as well as provide nice rich fat and flavour to your eggs.
In a low bowl, scoop your eggs into the centre and place your ramps all around them in a ring. Next, lay your guanciale over top and add a crack of black pepper. Dot some chili oil around if you’re into the heat, and finally, finish with your nicely toasted brioche. You’re now ready to enjoy the perfect spring breakfast!