Monday, May 12, 2008

The incredible, edible egg, part three: fettucine with bacon and ramps.

Ramps have long been a harbinger of spring for rural communities up and down the East Coast, their annual harvest inspiring feasts, festivals, and general revelry. Over the last ten years or so, they've taken on the same role for New Yorkers - their appearance at the Greenmarket and on restaurant tables all over the city trumpets the arrival of a new season.

So when my friend Miya called me to tell me that she'd snagged the first ramps of the season, I was not a little bit jealous. Not to be outdone, I headed to the Greenmarket first thing the next Saturday morning and bought a couple of bunches of my own.

Ramps look like a cross between a leek and a scallion - they have small, tight bulbs white bulbs, slightly reddish or purplish stems, and broad green leaves. Every bit (except for the actual straggly roots) is edible. They taste a bit like an onion crossed with garlic, with a smidgen of mysterious meatiness thrown in for good measure. And they are fantastic with bacon.

As part of my recent Greenmarket-fueled onion and egg orgy, I decided to cook up a plate of pasta with ramps. If you click through to Miya's post, you can find her excellent, carbonara-esque version. I wanted to take another shot at frying up an egg, so I decided to take a slightly different route.

I rendered the fat out of a few lardons, sauteed the ramps, deglazed with chicken stock, and tossed the resulting sauce with some fresh fettuccine, the reserved bacon, and some Parmesan cheese. Topped the whole thing with a fried local egg. Deliciously simple.

There's no official recipe for this - in reality, the sauce isn't all that different from the spring onion cooking method from this post - just use a bit of extra chicken stock, and you're golden!

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