Ramping Up for a Season of Gush


Picture me with my arms stretched out, my fingers in jazz-hands positioning, and gushing about lily pad perfect bibb lettuce, three feet tall scallion stalks and a fresh loaf of spelt bread. It’s farmers’ market season, boys, girls and those who identify otherwise.

It’s ON.

It’s so on that I actually openly gush to the vendors. When I’m stammering half out loud, half to my market friend westcoast and, and well, if there three halves, half in my head, about how I’m just so very excited to be outside, browsing fresh produce and even fresher mozzarella cheese. How is it possible that the creamy white pillows resting in water can be called the same name as the shredded, plastic bag dwelling yellow cheese? Tell me, because fucks if I know. Or the cheese producer that I asked as I closed my eyes and let his version of motz float down my throat.

My first visit to the Silver Spring market yielded my first go at ramps. They are part of the onion family, look more like scallions than regular onions, but are tiny and leafy and expensive. Of course westcoast and I bought three bundles. After the market he came over and we scrambled together sauteed ramps in my newly purchased European-style butter, and scrambled in farm fresh eggs and feta. And I think chives too. I don’t know. After my high from the market my hangover took over and the details of the cooking are sketchy.

But I still had a bundle of ramps left a week later, and with wilting on its way, I had to act quick…

Lox and Swiss Chard Omelet with Ramp Yogurt Sauce

I’m no omelet expert. You can follow my sort-of directions here, if you’d like. But if you’ve mastered your own, or even a proper, technique than go for it.

The fillings are from previous meals. I sauteed the swiss chard with garlic in olive oil and then covered it, stirring occasionally, for under 10 minutes. I chopped up the leftovers for easier breakfast eating. I also diced the lox, about a slice and a half.

The ramp yogurt sauce was from the chard meal (originally served with pan seared flounder and Israeli couscous) and was inspired by this Bon App recipe. For the sauce, I sauteed the ramps – first the bulbs, and then the leaves, in oil and, when softened, I threw that in a mini food processor. Also in the processor: toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, salt and pepper. After blending, I stirred it into my farmers’ market 1% yogurt. I’ve tried, and learned, that I do not like the texture of blended yogurt for sauces. It becomes too thin and defeats the reason you wanted a yogurt sauce to begin with – a thick, creamy texture. So that’s why I put the yogurt in after the blending.

So with all that prepped, I used my farmers’ market eggs – and holy crap are the yolks so vividly hued – and then stuffed the chard and fish into the middle. I then slathered the top of the omelet with the ramp yogurt sauce.

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  • belmontmedina April 27, 2009  

    Guess who will be shilling for Quaker Valley Orchards at the H Street FreshFarm market starting this Saturday…

  • rooms April 27, 2009  

    Lovely. I, too, am so excited about the farmer’s market starting up again. Ours starts this Saturday (I think) and I can’t wait. Ramps actually grow wildly throughout much of the East Coast. I’ll let you know if I find any up here in Maine.

  • chris April 27, 2009  

    Just bought my annual psychotically expensive, small supply of ramps yesterday. They truly are one of the best things of living on the east coast! Sharp, complex, rare, etc. Take that you west coast dwelling, we have fresh produce year round and hippies as far as the eye can see, bastards!

    Will be cooking them this week with good olive oil, pancetta, little basalmic, etc and pasta combined with roasted pork loin. God, I’m hungry.

  • Maids April 27, 2009  

    I had to read the first sentence three times to capture the image the way you intended Gans. The first two times I was imagining a Thumbalina sized Gansie floating down a stream on a piece of bibb lettuce, arms worshipfully raised towards the heavens. That was a weird image to have in my head.

  • JoeHoya April 27, 2009  

    Can’t wait for the H Street Market to open this weekend – we’ll be there for the opening bell!

    And we’re loving us some ramps here, as well. Our post tomorrow morning is going to highlight one of our uses (that I’m particularly proud of).

  • Gee April 27, 2009  

    wtf. how is it that i’ve never heard of ramps before this weekend and apparently everyone else has.

    my brother picked up a bunch at the green market at union square during the day friday. that evening i met him uptown and the could smell the ramps from his back-pack.

    they went well with the tofu scramble the next morning.

  • gansie April 27, 2009  

    @belmont – tell me more about this shill deal

  • 80 Proof April 27, 2009  

    Gee — Yeah, thanks for mentioning the smell. I didn’t want to bring down the ramp lovefest, but they are quite stinky. Our whole apt smelled like ’em for a while.

    Tasted great though, so no complaints there.

  • Maids April 27, 2009  

    what do they stink like?

  • kerry April 27, 2009  

    I’ve never eaten ramps, but I keep hearing about them! I’ll have to be on the scout for them now.

    This post would be great for the Farmer’s Market Report. I hope you’ll consider submitting it! http://toeverymeal.blogspot.com/2009/04/farmers-market-report-april-27th.html

  • westcoast April 28, 2009  

    @chris I live in DC.

  • chris April 28, 2009  

    @westcoast: My sarcasm wasn’t directed at you personally.

    We here on the east coast get such few nice things in our markets in comparison, we have to gloat about a few of them!

  • dad gansie April 29, 2009  

    great for all you guys having the markets reope
    Looks great. Gansie what’s smelt bread??My Old times smelts were a fish.
    smart thinking 80p that you weren’t complaining (right Mom 80 p)
    Have a good weekend es’ers

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