One of the many joys of parenthood (for me at least) is feeding my girls and on those special days when Mom is at work and Taylor is in school its just me and my baby daughter. With the crazy schedule at Taste of Home it is a well deserved break to wake up in my own bed on occasional mornings and patter outside with baby Sophia in tow to dig up some of the seasons first ramps to season our morning eggs.
Baby Sophia loves her morning “eggies” with daddy and as i continually try to introduce new flavors, textures and smells into her diet i was surprised (but incredibly happy) that ramps (albeit in very small doses) went down happily with a minimal amount of food flinging.
Cicagawuni was one name given to the area around the southern shore of Lake Michigan where ramps grow with abandon. Shikako which loosely translates to “skunk place” referred to the strong smell of these harbingers of spring. well, Shikako is now called Chicago and ramps or wild leeks are some of the first gastronomic gifts that the great lakes region offers in spring
Ramps grow from South Carolina to Canada, and in many areas they’re considered a spring delicacy and even a cause for celebration and here at my culinary compound they are just called dinner
Ramps aren’t available for long, but you can chop and freeze them for cooked dishes. The green tops are milder in flavor and are usually used along with the bulbs. If you don’t like being limited to a spring time treat its not unusual to find pickled ramps in specialty food shops or here’s a idea, find yourself a handful of fresh ramps chop about half of the green leaves separately, air-dry them for a few hours then freeze them in an air-tight container for future use as an out of season spring seasoning for your pantry.
Ramps have broad, smooth, light green almost tulip like leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and a scallion-like stalk and bulb. Both the white lower leaf stalks and the broad green leaves are edible. if you ever come across a recipe that says use white part only or green part only – please disregard, I use the whole enchilada!
“The garlicky onion flavor of michigan ramps are widely considered to be sweetest and the best of the wild onions wrote the late great wild food evangelist Euell Gibbons in his epic culinary tome. “Stalking the Wild Asparagus” well my Sophia couldn’t agree more!
Michigan Ramp Omelette
2 tablespoons unsalted or sweet butter (at room temperature)
6 whole fresh ramps, trimmed of roots, washed and dried
1- 2 ounces Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Chop the cleaned ramps and set aside. Crack the eggs into a suitable sized mixing bowl and season with the salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously, making sure yolk and whites are thoroughly incorporated.
In an 8-inch nonstick omelet pan, warm one tablespoon of the butter over medium heat and add the chopped ramps. Cook for a minute or two stirring to cook through then remove from pan and set aside.
Place the pan back on the heat with the last tablespoon of butter and heat. Pour in the beaten seasoned eggs and using a swirling motion with a rubber spatula, stir eggs evenly until they begin to set.
Once the eggs begin to set, turn down the heat and cook slowly. Let sit a few seconds until they start to set around the edges. Evenly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top along with the reserved ramps. Push a piece of the set edge gently toward the center. Tilt the pan and let some of the unset egg from the top fill the little gap you just made. Keep going around the edge of the pan like this, until there is no more unset egg on top.
Flip 1/3 of the omelet over the filling. Now, tilting the pan over a warm plate, roll the omelet out.