Ramps, those lovely delicate shoots of wild leeks, the signals of the beginning of the season of plenty, are finally here. They grow in the wild (well, New Jersey wild) and thus hard to come by. Occasionally they make an appearance at random produce sections and farm stores but you can forage them by yourself (see how).
|Local Ramps, Photo courtesy of Zone 7|
Ramps have a garlicky, oniony flavor that complements many fish. Especially when juxtaposition-ed with that crispy skin of a pan-fried fillet. Here is one gloriously simple example, just in time for Good Friday.
Salmon Fillets with Sauteed Ramps
2 pounds ramps, trimmed and cleaned (substitute with a combination of leeks and scallions with a touch of slivered garlic)
3 tablespoon olive oil to saute ramps
Salt and black pepper
4 portions salmon or halibut fillets, skin on
Butter to cook the fish
Flour to coat the fish
Sea salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil and add ramps. Prepare an ice water bowl. Cook until tender. Transfer to ice bath for about 15 seconds. Drain.
When you are ready to cook the fish:
In a skillet heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the ramps and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Saute until lightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Transfer to 4 individual warm serving plates.
Simultaneously, melt the butter in a large sauté pan until just starting to change color. While the butter is melting season the fish fillets on both sides with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Dredge in the flour on both sides and pat off excess. Place the filet into the sauté pan. Cook until well browned and crisp on both sides and the fillets are just barely cooked through. Remove each fillet and place over the ramps. Serve immediately.