With those glorious spring ramps in hand, we wanted to make something special. We thought about simply sautéing them, and making a ramp pseudo-carbonara with pasta, bacon, the ramps and an egg, or making a rustic omelet with them. Both of these would probably have been delicious - they're variations on recipes we've made in previous years. But we decided instead to see how ramps would hold up in a fancier dish.
Walking past the local fishmongers, an idea was born.
We paired the ramps with salmon, a fish that is nicely complemented but not overpowered by strong flavors.
Ramps and potatoes are a natural pairing, but purple potatoes, also from Saturday's greenmarket, made it a bit more special and colorful.
Pecan Crusted Salmon with Sautéed Ramps and Purple Potatoes
3 to four small purple potatoes, sliced thinly
4 4-ounce salmon fillets
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning ramps and potatoes
1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus additional for seasoning ramps and potatoes
1 pound ramps, washed well, trimmed of their roots, and roughly chopped.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and let cook or approximately 3 to 5 minutes and just starting to brown. Stir, flipping potatoes onto other side, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until tender, and brown.
Meanwhile, combine the pecans, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Brush salmon fillets with thin coating of oil, then press pecan mixture all over fillets. In a separate pan, heat another tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Brown the salmon in the pan, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. (If the pecans are darkening too early, you can finish the fish in a 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat and set aside.
When the potatoes are tender, spoon them into a bowl and cover, then set aside while you finish the dish. Heat the last tablespoon of oil in pan, add ramps and sauté until just barely wilted.
Serve at once!
(Images: Nina Callaway)