Monday, May 9, 2011

"Ramp Up the Flavour"

Ramps or Wild Leeks Sustainably Harvested
by wildfoods
 As spring  starts to take hold - the promise of fresh local  Ontario food  is lead by one of the first plants to come up  - Ramps or Wild Leeks!  These tasty food finds can be purchased at many local farmers market.  Ramps are an amazing food that has a flavour profile similar to that of onions and garlic.  Eaten raw or cooked the power packed flavour and nutrition that this local food find contains makes getting to the market early enough to get your hands on some - well worth it!

Ramps can be pickled, tossed into salads, stir fry, soups, blended into pestos, cooked into savoury tarts, roasted, grilled.  When cooking, think of it like a green onion, delicate nature bold in flavour.

Ramps contain quality antioxidants known as polyphenols that are anti-cancer, choline to support brain function and sulphur compounds that protect blood vessels from damage
Once I had my first bunch of the season, I split my purchase into two and used them as follows.
Trim the root end and wash in cold water before using.

Grilled Ramps
Toss cleaned ramps with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Place on BBQ on low-medium and cook for about 8 minutes. 
(If grilling other meats or heartier veg, the ramps should be the last thing you put on the Q)
Serve with grilled meats!

Ricotta & Ramp Bake

2 cups ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup sliced mushrooms
6-8 ramps, cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup roasted red pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place ricotta and eggs in a bowl, stir well.
Place skillet over medium heat, add butter to melt.
Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add thyme and white portion of ramps and cook another 3 minutes
Add green portion of ramps, roasted red pepper, pepper and salt, remove from heat.
Stir ramp mixture into ricotta and eggs.
Pour into a 9x9 pan.
Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until set.
Serve warm  or cold!

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