Ramps are a wild tasty plant that can’t be grown in your garden, but if you’re lucky enough to have a forager at your farmers market, you can find this short-lived tasty ingredient. Found in the wild from late April to early June, ramps (member of the Allium family), are essentially wild leeks that add a unique bold garlicky flavor to any dish, and can be used in place of scallions, leeks or shallots. You can eat the whole ramp or just work with the leaves. In this case, I used only the leaves.
I recently went to The Farm Cooking School in Titusville, PA for a cooking workshop on ramps and asparagus. I love taking time to learn something new about using in-season ingredients. They were having their “Garden Festival” and farmers market (from Roots to River Farm) that day as well, so there were other fun things to do, see and buy.
The quiche recipe they provided in the workshop was a winner. I altered this recipe slightly to incorporate the oyster and shiitake mushrooms I cultivated at home. (See Growing Mushrooms in Grow Kits to learn more.) In the workshop, we used a 10x15 baking sheet, which I altered at home to use two pie tins that have removable bottoms. (I find it easier to cut quiche by removing it from the rim). This allowed us to eat one and freeze one.
Want to do more with ramps? Check out my Ramp Pesto recipe as well for a tasty pesto for pasta, pizza or any dish.
Ramp and Mushroom Quiche
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks), cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) vegetable shortening
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
2 bunches (about 8 ounces) ramp leaves, rinsed well
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 quart heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 ounces Fontina, Taleggio, Gruyere or other melting cheese, coarsely grated
Make and blind bake the crust:
In a large bowl, blend together flour and salt.
Add butter, and shortening and blend. (You can use a pastry blender, mixer with a dough attachment, or food processor.) Blend just until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Drizzle evenly with 6 tablespoons ice water and gently stir with a fork (or using the mixer, blender or food processor) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn't hold together, add the other tablespoon or 2 of water, combining until just incorporated, then test again. (Do not overwork mixture, or pastry will be tough.)
Mound the mixture onto a work surface. With heel of your hand, smear a portion of the dough outward to work in the butter, continue with the rest of the dough, one portion at a time.
Gather dough together with pastry scraper and press into a ball, then flatten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a circle that can fit a 9-inch pie tin. Trim edges if necessary so they slightly overhang edges of pan. Repeat for second pie tin.
Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights or raw beans or rice.
Bake until pastry is set and pale golden along rim, 15 to 20 minutes.
Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden all over, 10 minutes more. Transfer to a rack and keep oven on.
Make the filling while the crust is baking:
Sauté mushrooms in olive oil for about 10 minutes or until golden and softened. Stir occasionally.
Stack the ramps and roll tightly, cut roll into thin strips with a chefs knife. In a 3-5 quart pot, put the ramps, mushrooms and the cream and bring to a boil. Let boil or simmer vigorously (be careful not to let mixture boil over) until ramps are tender and cream is reduced and thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
Season mixture with salt and pepper. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl and slowly add the cream mixture to temper the eggs. Pour mixture into the baked crust, spreading ramps evenly. Top with the grated cheese.
Bake until filling is set, 20 to 30 minutes.
Original recipe credit: Shelley Wiseman of The Farm Cooking School. If you’re in the NJ/PA area and are not far from Titusville, PA, I highly recommend taking their workshops. Great recipes and lots of fun.
I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).
I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)
This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.
In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself.
With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix DMC-ZS15 compact camera.)
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Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!