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Fried Egg with Sautéed Ramps and Garlic-Rubbed Toast


Ramps. Just the thought of them at the Greenmarket makes me really excited. Ramps taste like the essence of spring given that they are the first greens to come up after a long winter of tubers and root vegetables.

I’m not the only one with ramp-mania either. Unfortunately, the dramatic rise in their popularity over the past few years has been raising concerns that foragers are over-harvesting to meet demand.

Ramps are notoriously difficult to cultivate. For the most part, they are a foraged food that is found and plucked in the wild. To ensure that the plant keeps growing requires foragers to leave their bulbs intact — problematic since most ramps are sold with their bulbs and roots attached.

So what do you do if you love them like I do? Should you stop eating them all together?

You don’t have to give up ramps as long as you stay committed to being a responsible consumer. If you forage for them, take no more than you can reasonably eat. If you can, just take the leaves and leave the bulbs in the ground. If you buy them, try to buy them from a farmer you trust. Talk to your farmer and make sure that their ramps are coming to you in a sensible and sustainable way. The Greenmarket NYC closely monitors and regulates foraged food to ensure that things like ramps will continue to be around in the future.

Celebrate their scarcity because that is what makes them special!

Once you get your hands on some sensibly-foraged ramps, this is a great way to prepare them for lunch or for a light supper. I hesitate to even call this a recipe since it is such a simple way to prepare them, but simple preparations are oftentimes the best way to showcase especially great ingredients.

Ingredients:

Thickly-sliced bread, as many pieces per person as you like

1 garlic clove

4 ramps per person, cleaned and bulbs split in half if they are on the large side

1 egg per person

Olive oil

Butter

Salt and black pepper

How to prepare:

1. Generously brush both sides of your bread with olive oil. Broil the pieces until they are golden brown. Rub a garlic clove on both sides of the bread, including the edges.

2. In a large skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add the ramps to the pan when the oil begins to shimmer. When the leaves have wilted and the bulbs have begun to turn translucent, shape the ramps into a circle and crack an egg into the center. Add a knob of butter to the pan. When the butter has melted, begin spooning the hot fat over the egg yolk as it cooks. When the whites have set, use a spatula to gently remove the egg and the ramps from the pan to a plate. Season the egg and ramps with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with the garlic-rubbed toast.

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17 Comments

  1. That’s so cool how you used the ramps to make a little cooking vessel for the fried egg! I’m not sure I’ve ever had ramps before, unless it was in a restaurant, but I s’pose that’s unlikely since they’re more foraged than farmed. I did see some Top Chef contestants go crazy over them a time or two (before we cancelled our cable, anyway). In any case, this looks amazing!!

    • I keep hearing about this Top Chef episode with ramps! I gotta look this up. Sounds like it was an entertaining episode!

      Ramps and eggs go really well together. If I had some Parmesan in the fridge (I’m out — almost never happens), I would have grated some on top. Just a smidgen!

      • Oh, parmesan would totally put this (or just about anything else) over the top. We were out of it the other day and I wasn’t sure what to do! But then we bought more. Disaster averted. :)

      • Right? There are some staples that are always, always, always in my fridge and my pantry: good olive oil, unsalted butter, maple syrup, dijon mustard (coarse and fine), Maldon salt, eggs, Parmesan. And every once in a blue moon I reach for something to discover that I’m out. There is this split second when I literally say, “Whaa . . . ?!?!?!?” Because I’m never out!

  2. Did you say garlic tost and fried egg? Oh I’m so in :). I wanted to make me a fried egg this morning but didn’t have time. I will definitely be making it tomorrow and I’ll see if I can make some garlic bread as well :)

    • Oh yeah! It was so good! I love rubbing garlic on toast. The absolute fastest way to get my garlic bread fix! I love using my garlicky bread to mop up my runny eggs too!

  3. I had to google “ramps” because it is very foreign to me. I would definitely like to try this recipe but I have not seen this vegetable in the supermarkets or the green grocer either. Had to ask the mom-in-law who’s very knowledgeable on plants. ;-)

    • Hmmmm, I think they might be called daslook in Dutch?

      http://urbanedibles.eu/?page_id=103

      We also call them wild leeks, but I think the British call it wild garlic or bear’s garlic. Worth a look or a forage! With the wonderful bounty that seems to grow in the Netherlands, I would be surprised that you didn’t have them — though maybe it’s one of those things we eat here but not there?

      If you find them, definitely try them! They are delicious!

      • If they grow in the wild, I’ll check when we go for a walk in the forest. They seem to look like the lily of the valley so I hope I don’t end up cooking them. ;-)

        • Ah yes. Lily of the Valley would be a very bad thing to confuse them with!

          From what I read, you should be able to smell garlic from a distance. I’ve never foraged for them myself, so I can’t speak from personal experience. Your mother-in-law or maybe someone at the market might know.

  4. Pingback: At the market | Ramps (Ramp pesto) « Nettle and quince

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