Ramps--a new recipe
- Tom Steele
I came up with a new ramp recipe on Saturday, when they're at their cheapest and most plentiful at the Union Square Greenmarket ($3.50 a bunch during the week, $2.50 on weekends--go figure).
It's a rösti, so it involves a lot of butter, but so what? You don't get ramps for more than 3-4 weeks a year.
2 bunches ramps (wild baby leeks), about 20-24
2 1/2 lbs. large yukon gold potatoes, peeled
8 tablespoons butter, plus 2 tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash the ramps well. Trim the root ends, and cut the ramps into a chiffonade. In a 10-inch non-stick skillet, sauté the ramps in 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the ramps cool, then scrape them onto a plate. Wipe out the skillet.
While the ramps cool, push the potatoes through the grating disc of a food processor. Transfer the grated potatoes to a clean cotton kitchen towel, gather up the towel, and squeeze as much liquid out of the potatoes as you can.
Over medium heat, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Place half the grated potatoes in the skillet. Season well with salt and pepper. Scatter all the sautéed ramps over the potatoes, and place the rest of the potatoes over the ramps. Season again with salt and pepper. Press the rösti with a large spatula until the butter sizzles up through it. Continue to cook, pressing well every few minutes, for 6-8 minutes, or until the bottom is browned to your liking.
Place a dinner plate over the skillet and carefully invert the skillet onto the plate. The rösti will come right out of the pan. Slide it back in, uncooked side down. Press with the spatula and cook the rösti for 6-8 minutes longer, pressing often.
Either slide the rösti out of the skillet onto a dinner plate, or invert it again. Serve hot, either whole or cut into wedges, with crème fraîche or sour cream on the side.
Yield: 3-4 servings
re: La Dolce Vita
You can hold it for a good 10 minutes right in the skillet over VERY low heat, but you need to turn it at least once. I wouldn't try to hold the finished rösti in an oven--it's bound to get soggy and leaden. Most rösti recipes I've seen have you boil the potatoes first, but talk about soggy and leaden!! Raw potatoes work just fine. I've served my rösti--sans ramps--many times, and people just go berserk! Oh--be sure to use unsalted butter. You're going to love this!