Quick Spring Dinner: Stir-fried Noodles with Ramps & Eggs

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Apr 24 2012

and roasted cauliflower and fish cake (aka surimi aka imitation crab)

This is the kind of quick, simple cooking I rarely blog about because it doesn’t involve any advance research and usually happens at the end of a busy day when I’m too hungry to bother with pictures. But I was excited about my first ramps of the season and pleased enough with how the meal turned out that I decided this might be worth sharing.

Ramps are wild onions (or leeks) that grow across North America from South Carolina to Quebec in the early spring. Like morels, they’ve acquired a special status in part because they’re generally perceived as tasty and in part because they aren’t cultivated commercially, and thus can be difficult to come by. Unless, of course, you know how to forage for them, which is especially common in Appalachia and the Great Smoky Mountains. All of which gives ramps a sort of split personality: they’re prized by fancy urban restaurants because they’re the epitome of the “fresh, local, seasonal” aesthetic—they’re only available for a short time every year and too delicate to transport far or store for very long. But they’re wild and free and used extensively in some of the poorest regions of the country, where their short growing season is celebrated at the kinds of middle America heritage festivals whose attractions might include an RV rally or an outhouse race.

two bunches, $4 at Eastern Market in Detroit

If you happen to get your hands on some, you can use them the way you’d use any green/spring onion. Unlike commercially-cultivated leeks, their green tops are tender enough to eat. I decided to  freeze the ones from these bunches for the next time I make stock because I love the flavor of leeks in soup.

As for the rest, I minced the white parts of the ramps to sauté in bacon fat along with some garlic and ginger while boiling a few handfuls of udon noodles. Spaghetti would have worked, too. I left the slender burgundy stalks whole and added them in later, once the garlic and white parts had started to soften.

kind of similar to how I might cook garlic scapes

Then I tossed in some chopped, roasted cauliflower left over from dinner a few nights earlier, and when the noodles were done, I drained them and added them to the frying pan along with a splash of soy sauce. Meanwhile, I threw a couple of eggs in the same pot I cooked the noodles in and let them boil for 5 minutes (so the yolks would still be just a little custardy in the middle) while I stirred the noodles until they were evenly coated. Added a package of fish cake and stirred some more, just until that was heated through—if I wanted to get fancy, I might have used a can of real crab instead. I'm really not sure if this is more Chez Panisse or RV Rally. Maybe somewhere in between?

Garnished with the eggs and some chives from a friend’s garden, as seen above. Kind of like a cross between Vietnamese garlic noodles and udon soup—the noodles were studded with bits of the sautéed ramps & other vegetables, full of funky garlicky flavor, with slightly-sweet bits of fish cake and the creamy semi-hard boiled eggs. In retrospect, some kind of bitter greens would have made a nice addition, but it was pretty delicious as is.

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This is the kind of post I actually really enjoy

because it mirrors what I end up doing for the majority of the time these days:

"Lessee... I have this and this and this... oh, and this... and these things... toss'em together... OK. Dinner!"

Sounds great. I remember when I was in school in Tennessee (outside of Knoxville), there was a whole plot of ramps on one of the hills in front of the main building. No one else knew what they were but I did, so I grabbed them all and sauteed them to add to the grilled cheese sandwiches we were always making in the dorm.

that's why I usually don't bother posting this kind of thing

It seems kind of pointless:

Take edible things, chop if bigger than desired, heat if colder/less cooked than desired, eat.

Who needs to read about that?

Well, to be honest, my

Well, to be honest, my favorites are your more socially-oriented material. I was just trying to say that I thought this was still worthwhile. Guess I'll stop here.

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Hello Margot
Thanks for the Stir-fried Noodles with Ramps & Eggs recipe.
I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
If you don't mind, can I submit your Stir-fried Noodles with Ramps & Eggs photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. Or perhaps you'd like to submit by yourself? Let me know when you did, so I can share it.


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Excellent post and wonderful blog, I really like this type of interesting articles keep it u.
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If you like the taste of

If you like the taste of leeks in soup, have I got a recipe for you (via email)!


Wow! It looks delicious. My mouth is watering just by seeing this. I love to cook very much and thank you for sharing this quick spring dinner. I will try it out for sure. Looking forward for more updates like this more.
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