Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ramps, morels, and the return of spring

Besides the promise of better weather, the three things I most look forward to with the coming of spring are ramps, morels, and fiddlehead ferns. This weekend, two of these three signs of spring – ramps and morels – both appeared at our local Whole Foods Market. Last year (May 6, 2010, "The Rise of the Lowly Ramp"), I did a post on ramps – also known as “wild leeks” – with a brief discussion of what they are like (think “very strong spring onion”), where to buy them (a good on-line source is Earthy Delights, which currently has both ramps and morels), and a brief discussion of ramp festivals. A quick Internet search on “ramp festivals” just now shows me that I am a bit late with my ramp post this year – sorry about that – because several of the large ramp festivals have already happened. But it’s not too late – the Richwooders website provides a lot of background information about ramps, along with a long list of ramp festivals, which continue from now through the second half of May.

Last year, I gave a recipe for scrambled eggs with ramps, ham, and gruyere, and my most recent post was about scrambled eggs with octopus, so it should be pretty clear that I really like scrambled eggs. It will come as no surprise, then, that I conclude this post with a recipe for scrambled eggs with ramps, morels, gruyere, and smoked salmon. The recipe features the same key ingredients – eggs, ramps, and smoked salmon – as the recipe for soft scrambled eggs with ramps and smoked salmon currently featured on the Earthy Delights website. The main differences are, first, that their recipe is for a French soft scrambled egg that is prepared using a double boiler, and second, that their recipe does not include either morels or gruyere. They do, however, strongly recommend accompanying their eggs with two tablespoons of steelhead or salmon caviar, something that sounds like it should also go great with the recipe given below, although I must admit I haven’t tried it.

In preparing the scrambled eggs described below, I only used one ramp because I didn’t want to overpower the other ingredients – these were small ramps and quite assertive in both flavor and odor – but I think I was too cautious, so the next time I make these eggs, I will increase the number of ramps to two, as I have suggested in the recipe below. As with the octopus omelet described last time, I served these eggs with a chunk of good bread and a nice white wine. (Specifically, an 80% chardonnay/20% torrontes blend from H.J. Fabre in Argentina.) Now, all I need is some fiddlehead ferns to go with it … maybe next week.

Scrambled eggs with ramps, morels, and smoked salmon


3 eggs

2 baby ramps, both the white and green parts, chopped into small pieces

1 to 2 oz. morels, cut into small pieces

2 oz. smoked salmon

¼ cup grated gruyere

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Fresh ground pepper

Sea salt


Wash and chop the ramps, rinse and chop the morels, and shred the smoked salmon into small pieces, removing the skin if present. Lightly beat the eggs with the sea salt and black pepper.

Next, heat the olive oil until it becomes fragrant. Add the ramps and sauté for about one minute. Add the eggs and stir. When the eggs begin to solidify, add the smoked salmon and the morels and continue stirring until they are almost done. Finally, add the gruyere and stir until it melts.

Serve and savor.

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