I laid down a few rules for myself before I started this website. No using that word that starts with “food” and ends in “i-e.” No going into detail about things like the interplay between quince paste and aged gouda. No fetishizing. No buying into the whole two-week ramp frenzy that takes over farmers markets and f–dies this time of year. (Aren’t there more important things to get excited about, like, for instance my daughter’s 15-second solo in the 2nd Grade Songfest last week? I’m sorry. I’m sorry. No bragging should probably also be a rule. I’m sorry! I’m sorry!)
But the thing is, I do happen to love those wild, earthy, oniony ramps — mostly because, like daffodils and magnolia trees, they are one of those first fleeting signifiers of spring. And probably also because I don’t actually have to personally partake in the frenzy. The frenzy — how’s this for lucky? — comes to me! Every year, my friend Yolanda (that’s her kick-ass family travel blog, Travels with Clara, over there in my blogroll) shows up on my doorstep or in my office carrying a bouquet of them like a prom date with a corsage. This year, she met me on a busy corner of Soho just to hand me my share of the ramp bounty that is her Catskills backyard. So what am I supposed to do…not get excited? I didn’t. Honest. I just sauteed the things in olive oil, fried some fish, and played it cool.
Fried Fish with Ramps
1/2 cup seasoned flour, on a dinner plate for dredging
1 egg, lightly beaten, on a dinner plate for dredging
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 large filets of delicate white fish such as flounder (about 1 1/4 pounds)
salt and pepper to taste
ramps, however many you’ve got
tartar sauce (or ketchup) for dipping
lemon wedges for squeezing
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Set up your dredging stations. One plate flour (salted & peppered), one plate beaten egg, one plate panko bread crumbs.
3. Dredge your fish filets: first in flour, then in egg, then in panko. Add to skillet and fry 2-3 minutes a side until cooked through. Remove from skillet and tent with foil to keep warm. (Or don’t.)
4. Add a little more olive oil to skillet, then add ramps and sautee until wilted, about 3 minutes. Serve atop fish filets. Add a dollop of tartar sauce for the fish.
Note: Andy made a quinoa salad tossed with sauteed mushrooms, olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, salt. Kids did not eat.