This past spectacular weekend brought spring into full glory and the Union Square farmer’s market was teaming with people who wanted to connect to nature through the food our farmers bring to the city.
There’s still not a ton of “green” to eat yet, besides a few somewhat pricey baby lettuces and micro-greens, helped out by hoop houses, (I did see some broccoli rabe). But the real harbinger of spring, RAMPS (!) were in full force. Ramps are wild leeks that grow in early spring and are often paired with mushrooms, particularly the rare and expensive Morel mushroom. There are about a million things you could do with ramps, indeed, when I lived in Chicago, The Land Connection held an annual fundraiser, called RampFest, which featured local Chicago chefs and their recipes using ramps in every imaginable form, in ravioli, in pestos, on pizza, in tarts, as sauces for meat or fish, in pastas…the arrival of ramps are the true trumpet of Spring’s arrival.
As are the cold-weather loving spring spinach and bright green zesty scallions. I bought these in abundance, along with fresh heritage pork chops, shiitake and cremini mushrooms (Morels are a luxury and if they even made it to the market, they disappear quickly), sheep’s milk yogurt, smoked pecorino cheese. Along with last week’s sweet cipollini onions and the fresh herbs growing in my window, here’s what became our special Saturday meal:
Grilled pork chops marinated with balsamic vinegar, orange juice, garlic, rosemary and parsley
Spinach with cipollini onions, mint and sheep’s milk yogurt
Creamy polenta with ramps, mushrooms and smoked pecorino