This post could also be known as the "ramps of destiny." One of my favorite people read my farmer's market post where I complained that I could probably find ramps and nettles cheaper than $7.00 a pound--heck, maybe for free! She said she'd take me for a ramps hike this weekend if she wasn't busy having a baby. But it turned out she was busy having a baby (OMG, congratulations, w00t!, huzzah!!). The ramps still came to me though, unexpectedly from a different friend who visited the VERY SAME SPOT. I figure that fate wanted me to have those ramps this weekend, no matter how I got them. (My ramps definition: wild onion-leek things.)
My next exciting gift was permission to harvest from my old favorite nettle patch (at my former apartment), even though I don't live there any more. I took great joy urticating myself (that is, applying nettles medicinally to my skin--rather inadvertently during the harvesting process) and getting a bag full of nettles. I tried to take a photo (below) that demonstrates what I consider the yin-yang nature of the plant. The leaves are symmetrical in alternate pairs, so for every "this way," there's a "that way." The Latin name is Urtica dioica, dioica meaning "two houses" which makes perfect sense to me. It's a teaching plant like the shamrock of St. Patrick--one plant full of dualities and contradictions. How could one thing be so generous and nurturing and so damn prickly at the same time?
For my first locavore ramps-nettle combo, I tried another white pizza. It was pretty good, but didn't really highlight what I like about these vegetables. (It did highlight how much I love caramelized onions as a white pizza topping--I used them as a ramps backdrop and think I'm going to put them on everything now.)
The following evening I made nettles-ramps omelettes with brie. They were crazy delicious. The omelette was the perfect vehicle for the rich, unique flavors of the plants. The brie was strong, but not an overpowering companion. So good. Here's the recipe, serves 2. (I make omelettes my mom's way as described below, not Julia's/the French way.)
- generous handful of nettles, steamed and chopped
- 4 ramps, white and purple parts sliced
- 1 T butter
- 4 large eggs
- ground pepper
- 2 ounces brie (about eight 1=inch slices)
- Sauté the ramps in butter. Set aside.
- Make omelettes however you usually do. My method is to whisk together 2 eggs at a time with some black pepper and a little water. Pour into an extremely hot nonstick pan and move egg away from the sides a few times, letting raw egg run back out to the edges. Once bottom is cooked, flip over and place fillings on one half. Fold the other half over the top and let sit for a moment so the cheese gets all melty.