Not unlike most weekends these days, Matt and I had recently had weekend plans to cook some ramps. Last Spring I decided my favorite use of ramps was in this ramp and mushroom hash – or creamed ramps, as I like to call it – from the New York Times. Matt and I both agreed this dish would be a wonderful accompaniment to creamy grits. And we just happened to have Trader Joe’s new stone-ground grits in the pantry.

We ended up inviting my mom over for dinner, so I bought some beautiful local hake to go with the ramps, mushrooms, and grits. Matt topped his meal with a fried egg, which also looked pretty incredible! I think you know how I feel about runny eggs.

Even though a delicate fish like hake usually calls for a wine on the lighter side, we decided that Matt being done with his post-bacc classes was a perfect reason to pop open the bottle of R. Lopez de Heredia Reserva we brought back from Haro.

(I had a feeling it wouldn’t last in our apartment for too long.)

The final dish featured a lot of creamy elements, but the pan roasted fish lightened up the flavor and texture of everything else. I tried to get a perfect bite each time with a little bit of fish, ramps, mushrooms, and grits. It was a delicious combination.

Pan-Roasted Hake with Grits and Creamed Ramps and Mushrooms
Creamed Ramps and Mushrooms recipe from the New York Times, Serves 3

For the grits:
1 cup stone-ground grits
4 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. butter

For the creamed ramps and mushrooms:
2 small bunches of ramps, cleaned and trimmed
1/2 lb. mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

For the fish:
1 lb. hake (or other thick white fish) cut into 2 or 3 portions
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
Smoked paprika

Bring two cups of the broth to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in the grits. Return to a boil and then turn the heat down to low. Keep cooking over low heat, stirring often. Add broth or water when the grits get too dry. Cook for about 90 minutes and then stir in the butter. Season with salt.

Separate the ramps into bulbs and leaves. Cut the bulbs into one inch pieces and tear each leaf in half lengthwise.

Saute the mushrooms in the butter over medium heat until they’re lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and add the ramp bulbs. Cover the skillet and cook until the bulbs are tender, stirring every so often. When the ramp bulbs are tender, turn up the heat to medium-high and add the heavy cream. When the cream comes to a boil, add the ramp leaves and stir until wilted. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed.

For the fish, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Season the fish with salt and paprika and add to the skillet. Cook until browned on the bottom and flip. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.

I placed each fish filet over a bed of grits and ramps.

Have you ever cooked with ramps? What are your favorite ways to eat them?

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