There are ramps at the Grand Army Plaza farmers market! You know what that means: spring is finally here. After the worst winter this homegrown Texan here has ever had the displeasure of enduring (case and point: the day we left Chicago for good, April 14th, it was snowing...snowing!!!) I am lapping up this warm weather and sunshine like there is no tomorrow.
I've been enjoying having the windows open all day long, watching my basil plant grow on the sunny windowsill in our kitchen. Ever since moving to the midwest, and now the northeast, every year I promise myself that I won't squander the spring and summer, but they always seem to go by so fast that I'm never sure what I did with myself on all those wonderful days. Maybe this time around, blogging will help me remember.
I think this salad perfectly embodies the lush and beautiful essence of spring. It's vibrantly green, refreshingly crunchy, and healthy to boot. I mean, how can you go wrong with peas, snap peas and pea shoots all in one salad?
Adapted from Serious Eats
Depending on the time of year and where you buy your groceries, pea shoots can be difficult to find. I couldn't find them anywhere this past weekend, so I grabbed a box of microgreens from Whole Foods. I didn't think they were essential so you could even leave them out if you wanted.
Serves 4 as a first course or 2 as a complete meal, I tend toward the latter. You can divide it up however you like.
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste
ground pepper to taste
For the salad:
1 cup fresh english peas, shelled
2 cups sugar snap peas, strings and ends removed, cut into bite sized pieces on the bias
1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed, tips cut off and reserved separately
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp canola oil
16-20 whole ramps, ends removed
1 cup pea shoots or microgreens
Make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest, shallot, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Bring 3 quarts of water up to a boil in a large pot. Place the peas in. After 1 minute, add the sugar snap peas. Wait another 1 minute and add in the asparagus tips. Cook for a final 1 minute until all the vegetables are bright green. Remove the veggies with a strainer and immediately run under cold water. Strain as much water out as possible and set aside.
Place the asparagus stalks in the blanching water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from water and place in blender. Blend the asparagus with 1 tbsp olive oil and a few tablespoons of blanching water until it becomes a smooth purée. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat up canola oil in a large frying pan on medium-high. Add ramps and cook until lightly brown and crispy. Season with salt.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. In a saucepan, bring some water up to a boil (enough to completely submerge the eggs plus a little bit more). Turn the heat down so the water is just simmering. Using a large spoon, whirl the water so that it forms a vortex in the middle. Drop the eggs in quickly and poach for about 3 minutes, until the whites are cooked through but the yolk is still runny. Gently transfer eggs to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
To assemble: Spread a few spoonfuls of the asparagus purée on a plate. Toss peas, snow peas, asparagus tips, and pea shoots with the vinaigrette. Place some of the mixture on top of the puree and form a shallow well in the middle. Place a poached egg (or two) in the well. Top with crisped ramps alongside the egg(s). Salt and pepper if desired, and enjoy!