Did you get out in the beautiful spring sunshine yesterday? I tell you what, after the excitement that was last week, I enjoyed a quieter weekend outdoors, puttering in the garden and searching for wildflowers in the forest with the children.
Today there’s an ache in my shoulders I haven’t felt in a while, the result of turning the soil in the raised beds with a spade, and raking the last of the old leaves. It feels good.
With the arrival of warmer evenings, no doubt you are as excited as I am to move away from the kitchen stove and stand over the grill for a change. We scrubbed off the patio table and dined al fresco twice on the weekend, keeping thing simple with steaks and sausages – and a side of buttered mushrooms with ramps.
A salad is my longstanding preferred side to standard grilled fare, but I’ve recently fallen hard for heavily buttered, lemon-doused roasted mushrooms (a la Deb). I am finding them to be exactly what I want to pair with a steak or a burger. Oh, and grilled sweet potato rounds everything out nicely, while we’re waiting on the first asparagus up here.
I know it makes no sense at all to turn on the oven when you’ve already preheated a grill, but I think that once you try the mushrooms you’ll understand.
But before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about ramps, which I’ve paired with the mushrooms instead of the original garlic in Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. Ramps, or wild leeks (they go by many names) are in season now, and quite trendy, I should say. I wasn’t going to write about them, but this post on Smitten Kitchen inspired me to do so.
After all, they are the first harvest we welcome on our urban homestead. They deserve their share of accolades.
Where I live in Quebec, ramps are a protected species due to greedy folks pillaging the forests for a quick penny, however I have been cultivating a small patch on our homestead for our personal use and have seen tremendous growth.
If only people would nurture instead of plunder nature. Ramps grow in clumps quite tightly together, and I have found that if one bulb is removed from the group, and the patch delicately thinned, the expansion of the patch in the following year is substantial.
The flavor of a ramp hints of garlic, but is most like the tender yellow interior stalks of a leek. We’ve been spoiling ourselves by adding chopped ramps to our morning omelets, blitzing the tender greens into pesto for pasta, and -my favorite- roasting them with these mushrooms. Oh, and this warm potato salad with bacon and ramps is on tonight’s menu.
In this recipe, ramps are paired with another mild ingredient, button mushrooms, livened up with a spoonful of capers and finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. I say the recipe serves two, but you’re going to find it difficult to share. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
No ramps? No worry. Substitute chopped leeks (or green onion, in a pinch) for ramps in the recipe instead, and add a chopped clove of garlic for good measure.
|Roasted Mushrooms with Ramps, Capers & Lemon||
- 1 lb button mushrooms, wiped clean
- 1/4 cup chopped ramps
- 2 Tablespoons capers, drained
- Fresh ground pepper
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, cubed
- Juice of half a lemon
- Preheat oven to 425F. Butter a small casserole dish.
- Place mushrooms in the dish and sprinkle with ramps, capers, and fresh pepper.
- Dot mushrooms with butter and place in the oven. Roast for about 15 minutes.
- Drizzle the lemon juice over the mushrooms and stir everything with a spatula. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the delicious caramelized bits.
- Serve hot. Top with raw chopped ramps if desired.
Are you enjoying spring produce yet?