One of my dearest friends cooks, bakes, and grills like a professional chef. She loves to chop vegetables, says things like “ramekins” and has her own tablecloth named after her—The Christine—for purchase at The Palate in Stockholm, WI: http://www.thepalate.net/. Preparing food has been her passion since before my husband and I met Christine and her husband, Mark, over 15 years ago. It has been our good fortune to be the lucky recipients of many delicious meals and absolutely wonderful times in their home. Since I am all about following our passion, this is my way of letting her have an outlet for hers. Enjoy!
Celebrate the arrival of spring—finally—with ramps!
I have to admit that until my personal chef/best friend, Christine, sent me this recipe, I didn’t know what “ramps” were—the vegetable that is! Oh, but are we Minnesotans ready for ramps! If you’re local you know April was a brutal continuation of winter with weekly snowfalls accumulating to eight inches or more in some areas.
Ramps emerge in early spring and go dormant in the summer. Ramps have traditionally been consumed as the “season’s first greens”. Towns in West Virginia, New York, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania celebrate spring with the arrival of the ramp. Most celebrate this coming weekend (April 27/28) or the first weekend in May—perfect timing!
Ramps are believed to have great power as a tonic to ward off many ailments of winter—not an unfounded assumption given ramps health benefits. So are you ready to “ward off the ailments of winter?!”
From Christine’s Collection:
Spinach, Asparagus and Ramp Frittata
This is an excellent dish for a brunch, lunch or lite dinner with a salad and some bread. The ramps add a nice light onion and garlic flavor and are only available for a few short weeks in the spring. Look for them in markets. They are well worth it. The asparagus and spinach are in season this time of year and the flavors are especially fresh if you can find some grown locally. Organic and free range eggs really provide a rich, flavorful and healthy dish.
- ½ lb medium stalk asparagus trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
- (Break asparagus near end to remove woody ends. * Optional – Peel asparagus with vegetable peeler and it will cook more evenly.)
- 1 Bunch of spinach – rinsed well to remove sand and dirt
- 1 small bunch of ramps *optional but highly recommended (ramps are wild leeks and can be found at many farmer’s markets in the early spring)
- 6 extra large eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter / olive oil
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 325° F
- Sauté the asparagus in the butter on med-low heat for 5 min. (in a non-stick frying pan with an oven proof handle.)
- Add the spinach and sauté until wilted.
- Beat the eggs with the milk.
- Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
- Add egg mixture to vegetables in pan. With a spatula gently stir the eggs until they begin to set and gently press into an omelet.
- Once they begin to set place pan in oven and bake for 5 -7 min. until eggs puff and are set.
Interesting side note for my Chicago readers: “ The city of Chicago took its name from a dense growth of ramps near Lake Michigan in Illinois in the 17th century, after the area was described by 17th-century explorer Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, and explained by his comrade, the naturalist and diarist Henri Joutel. The plant called shikaakwa (chicagou) in the language of native tribes was once thought to be Allium cernuum, the nodding wild onion, but research in the early 1990s showed the correct plant was the ramp”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_tricoccum#cite_note-7 & http://www.chicagohistoryjournal.com/2008/03/how-chicago-got-its-name.html