Every year around this time, those beautiful ramps show up at my local grocery store for a brief shining moment. And every year, I basically buy out the stores entire stock. This is eating ultra-seasonally - enjoying a food product that is literally only available for about two weeks. I've extolled the virtues of ramps before, so I won't repeat myself, but if you have any chance to grab some of these wild beauties, I would highly recommend it. If not, you could probably do a passable rendition with sliced leeks.
Sautéed Ramps with Applewood-Smoked Bacon
From Emeril Lagasse
2 pounds ramps, trimmed and cleaned
¼ pound applewood-smoked bacon, julienned
4 tablespoons chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Trim the leaves from the stems of the ramps.
In a medium sauté pan cook the bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel to drain.
Add the stems of the ramps to bacon fat in skillet and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly caramelized. Add the chicken stock and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the leaves and cook until wilted. Serve immediately, on top of White Cheddar Cheese Grits, garnished with reserved crispy bacon.
Makes 6 servings
White Cheddar Cheese Grits
Adapted from Luquire Family Foods
2½ cups chicken stock
¾ cup heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup stone-ground white grits
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces sharp white Cheddar, shredded
Mix all ingredients except for cheese in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 40 minutes, stirring often. Add water to thin if necessary. When grits are thick, add shredded cheese and stir until completely melted.
Makes 6 servings