Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Trout with Ramps & Potatoes

Ramps are now starting to show up at the markets, hurray! This is a good 3 weeks earlier than last year, I think. What to do with them? Something simple to highlight their rich and pungent yet delicate flavour. This is pretty basic although it does take a little while to cook. Well worth the wait though. The fragrance of the ramps as they roast is amazing.

I've only started eating ramps very recently. Strangely, in all my childhood wanderings in the forest at our cottage I never came across them. Perhaps they don't do well in Muskoka, or maybe I was just unlucky. I think I didn't look very hard for them either, because everything* I had read about them was not encouraging. They were disgustingly strong to the point of near inedibility, and only uncouth bumpkins would or could eat such a thing. The phrase "uncouth bumpkins" was not actually used, but the subtext came through loud and clear in every text I read. Now they are the darling of urban foodies everywhere; my my, how fashions change. Of course, those were the days when even rubbing your salad bowl with garlic (before discarding the garlic, of course) was considered rather daring and possibly offensive to the delicate. I should have known better. Oh, well. I shall attempt to make up for lost time.

2 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 20 minutes prep time

Trout with Ramps and Potatoes
2 medium-large potatoes
3 or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch (16 to 18) ramps or wild leeks, well washed
2 fillets (500 grams or 1 pound) rainbow trout fillets

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Wash the potatoes and trim off any bad spots. Grate them coarsely and rinse them in cold water, and squeeze them out in the colander, leaving them there until the water boils. Add them to the boiling water and boil for 2 or 3 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water, and squeeze them to remove as much liquid as you can.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F. Put the butter in a shallow baking dish (8" x 10" lasagne pan) and put it in the oven to melt. Cut the white stem ends from the ramps, and trim off th root ends. Chop the white stems fairly finely. When the butter has melted, toss in the ramps and stir them around for a minute. Add the potatoes, season well with salt and pepper, and toss them well in the butter until they are evenly coated. Spread them out in the dish. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until they are fairly browned around the edges.

Rinse and drain the trout fillets. Chop the remaining leaves from the ramps fairly coarsely, and put them over the potatoes. Lay the trout fillets on top, and return the dish to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the trout is done to your liking. Serve at once.

*Euell Gibbons was the one exception, but I was inclined to take Euell Gibbons with a grain of salt, even though I assiduously bought every book he wrote.

Last year at this time I made Beet & Red Cabbage Salad with Horseradish.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

I have some ramps sitting in my fridge at the moment that I bought this weekend and haven't quite figured out what to do with. They are new to me as well! This looks like a good and simple way to enjoy them - really lets the flavor shine through!