Recipe: Pecan Crusted Salmon with Sautéed Ramps and Purple Potatoes

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.

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Pecan Crusted Salmon with Sautéed Ramps and Purple Potatoes serves 4

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!

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(Images: Nina Callaway)

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