are a true sign of spring. If you frequent farm to table type restaurants in Pittsburgh you are bound to find ramps on menus these days. Legume, Staggioni, The Porch at Schenley, Bistro 19 and Avenue B, among several others, are incorporating ramps into their menus this week. There are countless articles, recipes and blog posts about ramps available online. This one article in particular from Grub Street gives a pretty impressive and exhaustive history of what we know about ramps. It’s well worth the read. Here’s one interesting tidbit of information from the article:
In the mid- to late-nineties, we sold them for $2 a pound. This year we started at $17 per pound, says Magazino. They may be more popular than ever — there are some bona fide ramp freaks out there.
Asparagus Route Pick Up Locations
Penn’s Corner Hamilton Ave Warehouse, Monroeville, Churchill, Green Tree, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon- Briarwood, Whitehall, Mt. Lebanon- Woodhaven, Mt. Lebanon- Eden’s Market, Bridgeville, Greenfield, Sq Hill- Forward Ave, Sq Hill- Bartlett, Point Breeze, Chatham University, Sq Hill- Fair Oaks, Shadyside, Friendship
Zucchini Pick Up Locations
Highland Park- Jackson, Highland Park- Union Project, Morningside, Fox Chapel, Lawrenceville, North Side- Children’s Museum, North Side, B Gourmet, Bellevue, Ross Twsp, North Park- RAW Training, Bradford Woods, Restaurant ECHO, Google, Oakland- Apple, Oakland- The Porch, Schenley Farms, Downtown- Gulf Tower, Highmark, PNC One, South Side, Steelers Training Center, Eat n Park Hospitality, Edgewood, Regent Square, East End Brewing, Oakdale, Indiana
THIS WEEK’S HARVEST
OG- certified organic CNG- certified naturally grown
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- 1 cup hominy grits (why not use your Clarion River Organics cornmeal here???)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pound Cheddar, grated (substitute with Goudagold)
- 1/2 cup trimmed and minced ramps
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- cayenne to taste
In a heavy saucepan bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil, stir in the grits in a stream with the salt, and simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, or until it is thick. Remove the pan from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of the butter, cut into pieces, and stir the mixture until the butter is melted. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, and stir in the Cheddar. In a small skillet cook the ramps in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, stir the mixture into the grits mixture with the Parmesan, the cayenne, and pepper to taste, and transfer the mixture to a buttered 1 1/2-quart soufflé dish. Put the dish in a baking pan, add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the dish, and bake the soufflé in the middle of a preheated moderate oven (350° F.) for 1 hour, or until it is puffed and golden.
Yield: 1 thin 12-inch round or roughly 9×13-inch rectangular pizza; will serve 2 hungry adults (we double this for the three of us and end up with leftovers, which I call dibs on). I don’t usually double the garlic in the puree when I make two pizzas.
4 ounce, about half a bundle, ramps (see footnote for other suggestions)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Red pepper flakes (optional)
1 12-ounce pizza dough, ready to use (I default to my Rushed Pizza Dough in the book or this Really Simple one these days)
1/3 to 1/2 cup canned tomato puree or whole canned tomatoes
1 tiny garlic clove, minced
Pinch of sugar or drops of red wine vinegar (if needed)
3 to 4 ounces mozzarella, sliced into paper-thin rounds (optional)
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
Trim hairy ends off ramp bulbs. Separate ramp bulbs/stems from darker leafy ends. Thinly slice the stem ends; cut the leafier ends into 1/2-inch thick ribbons.
Heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add a pinch of red pepper flakes if using, and the sliced bulbs and saute until translucent but still a little crunchy/sharp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add ramp leaves and cook until just wilted, barely 1 minute. Season with salt and set aside.
Heat your oven to its hottest temperature. Coat a baking sheet or pizza pan lightly with cornmeal (so that dough doesn’t stick). Stretch pizza dough into a very thin 11 to 12-inch round or large rectangle with your fingers. Don’t worry if it’s uneven or misshapen.
If using whole canned tomatoes, either chop or puree them until you have your desired sauce consistency. In a small bowl, mix them with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes if using. Taste for seasoning. You can add a drop or two of vinegar for extra brightness or a pinch of sugar if it tastes like it needs it. Spread this mixed tomato puree thinly over your dough almost to the edges. You might not need a full 1/2 cup; I tend to use 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
If using mozzarella, spread thin slices over tomatoes. Scatter sauteed ramps over pizza. Season with additional salt and pepper (or pepper flakes) and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in heated oven for 10 to 12 minutes (keeping an eye on it if this is your first time baking pizza in a very hot oven), until crust is golden all around and mozzarella (if using) has some charred spots. Remove pizza from oven, scatter it immediately with pecorino romano cheese and serve in slices.
But I can’t get ramps! Leeks seem like the obvious choice, and they’d be delicious, but they’re much heavier than their wild counterpart, and take much longer to cook. Spring onions would be a nicer replacement. So could a mixture of scallions and a handful of spinach. Mainly, you’re looking for something small and onion-y to saute until translucent, but retain some sharpness, and a green to lightly wilt. I think that whatever you choose will be delicious.
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