Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sundried Tomatoes, Ramps, and White Beans

Have you ever tried ramps?  If not, then you definitely should get on that.  I had read about ramps in some of my cookbooks, but was never curious enough to try them out.  But ever since joining the group of Minnesota Food Bloggers and following some very talented cooks on Twitter, I've really learned a lot about delicious ingredients.  My Twitter feed has exploded lately with talks of ramps, and this season I decided that it was time to try them out.  Ramps are wild leeks and that are harvested in the early spring, and are one of the first greens to pop up from the ground in April.  Their season is also quite short, and they will be disappearing just as quickly as they came, at the beginning of May.  So it makes sense that everyone is talking about these greens, because the time to talk about ramps is fleeting.


But is the talk worth it?  Absolutely.  As soon as I cut into one of these delicate greens, I knew I was going to fall in love.  The flavor of a ramp is reminiscent of both onion and garlic in their most subtle forms.  Think about a garlic chive, but then add a wild, earthy note.  That's what you'll get from ramps.  I'm legitimately upset that I have been missing out on these greens all of these years, and even more so that I finally came around so late in the ramp season.  I plan to stock up some ramps and have a wild, ramp cooking spree until the season is over.  If you were to try one or two ramp recipes this season, be sure to try this one.  The mellow flavor and texture of the beans allows the ramp-ness of the dish to really come through.  And the ramps pair nicely with the sundried tomatoes.  But don't be shy....you can certainly add more ramps to this dish! 

Sundried Tomatoes, Ramps, and White Beans
adapted from Clean Start by Terry Walters
serves 2

1/2 cup boiling water
4-5 sundried tomatoes
4 ramps, washed, roots removed, bulb and greens sliced thin
1-2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mirin
1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 large slices of thick country bread, toasted

In a small bowl, soak the sundried tomatoes in the hot water for about 15 minutes or until they are soft.  Remove the tomatoes but reserve the soaking liquid.  Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the sundried tomatoes and saute for about 2-3 minutes.  Add the ramps and mirin, and continue to saute for another minute.  Add the tomato liquid by tablespoon as needed to prevent sticking.  Pour the beans into the skillet and add another 2 tablespoons of the tomato liquid.  Continue cooking until the beans are heated through and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Remove from heat.  Serve over a piece of toasted bread.

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