Two vegetables that have become synonymous with the early days of spring are asparagus and ramps. Asparagus has always been a favorite of mine. Another vegetable I avoid out-of-season, as it never tastes the same. But when those crisp tender stalks hit the Greenmarkets, I’m usually roasting, sautéing or steaming at least 2-3 times a week. Overindulgence almost makes me grow sick of asparagus, as June rolls around, leaving me satisfied for another year to come.
But ramps. How is it that until about 2 years ago, I never even knew what these beautiful wispy greens were?! I first discovered them at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. With no idea of what I was getting into and no plan, I purchased a few bunches. Still, my favorite preparation is soft scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar. Last year I even attempted my own gnocchi. Pretty much any recipe that could involve ramps, in my household, does.
With such a fleeting window of harvest for both these amazing vegetables, what better than combine them into a single dish? The addition of mushrooms added some heartiness, still appropriate as the days continue from winter to summer. (Because really, do we get much spring these days?). Plus a dash of lemon for brightness. This is a dish you need to make now. Because in two weeks, you probably won’t be able to.
Asparagus Ramp Sauté (Serves 4-6)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 2-inch pieces
2 c sliced cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1 large bunch of ramps, thinly sliced, green parts only
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add the asparagus and mushrooms, cooking until asparagus is bright green and just tender. Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemon.
Stir ramps into the asparagus until just wilted. Add lemon juice, zest and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
A few weeks ago I posted a recipe for bacon and fig Brussels sprouts slaw. Shredding Brussels sprouts was revolutionary for me. Just a few weeks after having the Brussels and bacon slaw at my in-laws’ Thanksgiving feast, I had a similar dish but cold at one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants, Petit Oven. Raw Brussels sprouts spiked with lemon juice and kalamata olives. I knew I needed to replicate this dish.
When the temperature drops, the first thing I crave is chili. The past couple of weeks have been in the high 20s, sometimes flirting in the 30s. My standard crockpot chili recipe is a good standby, but I was interested in creating something different. Usually when I’m searching for a new twist on an old recipe, I turn to my Secret Recipe Club pairing for an idea. Serena and Deanna over at a Teaspoon of Spice did not disappoint.
Fried rice used to be an old standby for us. Have a lot of veggies? Chop it up and saute with a bit of egg and soy sauce. Add some chicken or beef if you’re out for more protein. And one of the best parts about dishes like fried rice is you can easily make double or triple the batch, enough for leftovers and lunches for the week ahead. But at some point the fried rice stopped. I’m not really sure why; I guess we just got tired of eating it. And sometimes (ok, most of the time), takeout was easier, despite the less healthy version.