Ramp Salad with Lemon-Ramp Vinaigrette

Spring is finally here in full force.  I think we’ve seen our last hard frost of the season, and Beloved has our gardens all planted (that’s a whole ‘nother post).  While our CSA pickups don’t begin until the first weekend of June (I’m so jealous of my California friends, who get CSA boxes even in winter), the first outdoor farmers market of the season was last Saturday, and we came home with some with some seriously good stuff – mixed baby lettuces, asparagus, radishes, an absolutely beautiful goat milk Camembert cheese, a few “starter” plants and best of all – two bunches of ramps.

Ramps are a variety of wild onion with a distinct garlic flavor.  I’d never seen them before I’d moved to Ohio because they only grow in the eastern United States and Canada, and while they can be cultivated, the ones we purchased were foraged.  They have a very short growing season, so I was quite pleased to find them.  I’m tempted to throw caution to the wind and make a risotto with one of the bunches and some of the Camembert, but one bunch went into this incredibly delicious salad.

I mean, I had all this fresh lettuce and radishes and while ramps are delicious cooked (and pickled), they are mild enough to eat raw – the greens are also edible, and they went into the salad as well.  I had some organic red seedless grapes and pecans that needed to be used, so they were tossed in, too.

But the best thing about this dish is the vinaigrette.  The season for citrus fruit is winding down, but I can still get really nice lemons at our local natural foods market so I used one that I had on my counter, along with some finely chopped ramps, a touch of raw honey and some lovely, unadulterated extra virgin olive oil from California – oh, my gawd, it was just delicious.  Light and tangy with a nice, mild garlic flavor from the ramps, it complemented the salad mix perfectly.

I made this for lunch and served it with some leftover chicken (that I must make again and post the recipe), and between the two of us, there wasn’t a scrap of salad or a drop of the vinaigrette left.  I was just that good.

You can, of course, use any combination of greens and ingredients you like; this is simply what I had on hand (although it did go together beautifully). If you don’t have access to ramps, use scallions in the salad and fresh, minced garlic in the vinaigrette; it will still be delicious.

Ramp Salad with Lemon-Ramp Vinaigrette. One of spring's first vegetables, ramps are a fleeting delight.  Showcase them in this beautiful salad!

Ramp Salad with Lemon-Ramp Vinaigrette
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 cups ramp greens, julienned
  • 1/2 cup young ramps
  • 1 small tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
  • 2 small radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 ounce pecans, roughly chopped
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped young ramps
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Whisk all of the vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl; taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Set aside.
  2. Toss the salad ingredients together in a large salad bowl; divide between three plates. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve.
  3. Nutrition (per serving): 282 calories, 25.1g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 69.1mg sodium, 530.2mg potassium, 15.1g carbohydrates, 3.9g fiber, 9.1g sugar, 2.9g protein

 

 

Random Tuesday Asparagus and Footwear

Yeah, you know you’re at the Sushi Bar when both food and shoes are in the title of the post.

Anyhoo.

Much to my delight, we received our first delivery – ahead of schedule – from our CSA co-op yesterday.  Not a large delivery this early in the season, naturally, but enough to make me giddy.  It contained radishes, some baby lettuces and this:

 

Asparagus

I had no idea there was such a thing as purple asparagus, but there is.  And it was delicious in this:

 

Chicken and Asparagus Stir Fry

I LOVE spring.

Another delicious component of the stir fry – which, maybe surprisingly, had no Asian flavors at all – was another find from the Local Roots co-op on Saturday:

 

Dark Chocolate Balsamic Mustard

Yes, that would be Dark Chocolate Balsamic Mustard, made with Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar which I am going to order online in the next 3 minutes.  The mustard itself has quite a kick, but a wonderfully smooth, rich undertone and finish.  I put about a teaspoon in the stir fry and it was just marvelous.  Today, it’s going in a salad dressing destined for those baby greens that came with the asparagus yesterday.

And, finally, my newest pair of shoes:

 

Vibrams FiveFingers Treksport

Beloved and I are doing quite a bit of walking these days, and after wearing these almost non-stop for the past 3 years I have come to dislike my regular walking shoes intensely.  However, it’s rather hard to hike through the muck and mud in a pair of Crocs ballerina flats, so new shoes were in order.  I’m not going to go into whether or not barefoot running or running in minimalist shoes is adventageous or dangerous – I’m not a runner, and never will be for a variety of reasons – so let’s just suffice to say that these particular Vibrams, which are made specifically for walking/hiking over rough terrain, are what I am now wearing when Beloved and I go off the beaten path, so to speak.

Besides, I really like the odd looks I get from people when I wear them.  ‘Cause I’m just that way.

Now, head on over to Stacy’s and get your Random Tuesday on.

You Capture: Youth

I owe my friend Mama Badger an apology.  I promised her photos of a certain young man, but alas!  He was not able to visit us this past weekend.

I am so sorry.  There is little that makes up for the lack of chubby, blue-eyed sweetness.

It also puts me at a loss for this week’s You Capture, which is “Youth.”  You see, I was depending on the opportunity to photograph our darling bundle of youthful joy in order to overwhelm all the other participants.  Instead, I’m stuck with a photo of the first crocus to bloom in our desperately-in-need-of-mulching garden.

Pride.  It goes before a fall, or so they say.

And you work with what you have, I guess.

 

First Crocus