As a native Texan, the only wild edibles I’m accustomed to are wild boar. Since feral hogs aren’t particularly partial to being manhandled, my life has been largely devoid of the joys of tramping into mossy woods and pulling up my own dinner…that is until now.
Upstate New York is an infinitely more fertile place than Austin, Texas, and since my school is situated roughly in the middle of nowhere, there are lots of wild edibles in the warmer months. One of the better known is the ramp AKA the wild leek AKA my new favorite food. The ramps started cropping up about two weeks ago, and will be gone in less than a fortnight, making them a brief and scintillating delicacy that usher in the spring with their bright aroma and sweet flavor.
Ramps are native to North America (growing from South Carolina to Canada), making them a truly local ingredient, which thrills me to no end. Consequently, ever since my first taste of the onion’s handsomer, suaver cousin, I’ve been a little ramp-crazy. I got them from a local foods store, then dug them at a nearby farm, and got my hands on another large bunch at the Farmer’s Market yesterday. I’ve tried them in everything from stir-fries to soups to quiches, and they’ve been delicious every time. That said, a few of my favorite recipes have been baked with eggs and as a pesto, so those are the recipes I want to share. Today we’ll do eggs, tomorrow the pesto!
Buttery Baked Eggs with Wild Leeks
This is another single person recipe, but is easily scaled up. The joy of these baked eggs is scooping them out of your individual bowl. So the more people you’re cooking for, the more oven-safe crockery you need.
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp butter
pinch of salt and pepper
Clean and de-root your ramps. Separate the white bottoms from the greens and dice. Roll the flat green leaves up and chiffonade. Mince your garlic. Preheat your oven to 450, and place your oven-safe crock (or bowl) inside to pre-heat, with 1/2 the butter in it.
Heat up a skillet and melt the butter, then toss in your ramps and garlic. This is just to heat them through and slightly wilt the greens. They shouldn’t brown at all, so make sure to take them out as soon as the pan is fragrant. Grab your bowl from the oven (with the butter now melted at the bottom), and spoon in the lightly cooked ramps/garlic. Crack your two eggs over the greens and toss a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper on top. Slide into the oven, and check at 6 minutes. You want the whites set and the yolks barely set. Depending on your oven, this will take 6-8 minutes.
The eggs are heaven. The ramps are heaven. It’s wonderful for breakfast, brunch, or just as a mid-afternoon snack.