I love these first few weeks of spring - it seems nothing is growing (especially this year, when we went from warm to freezing and back to warm again), but it's the little things - the delicate lettuces, even the chives and the dandelion greens. Everything tastes green. Light green, slightly bitter, sometimes floral, the greens of Springtime speak of hope and renewal. It's no wonder Spring has been the season for rebirth for cultures and religions since the beginning of time. Wow, I'm pretty philosophical for a Saturday morning, aren't I?
Lately, I've been going through this phase where I've been putting a fried egg on top of anything that will sit still long enough - pasta, salad, beans and rice - it doesn't matter, it's gets an egg. This is not through any stroke of culinary brilliance, mind you, it's just laziness. The Widow household has been a little disorganized lately - with the batch of Tinies, new jobs, new hours, etc., we haven't been doing a lot of in depth cooking. Or shopping. And I'm out of canned tuna. Next best protein? Fried eggs. Besides being quick and easy, eggs are delicious. Well, some eggs are delicious. Some are tasteless, but we don't buy that kind now, do we? While I bide my time until such time as my CSA restarts, I've been enjoying 2 Silos eggs purchased from Whole Foods or Weiland's. My most recent purchase was half a dozen duck eggs. When placed upon something like salad or pasta, a lightly-cooked egg will break open to meld with the olive oil-dressed greens or pasta, helping to create a rich and savory sauce. It's heaven! There's a reason the French have been eating frisee salads with bacon and poached eggs for centuries. It's tasty.
This salad takes advantage of the new greens at the market, a few foraged ramps, and some not-local asparagus (not yet, anyway, but next week). Nothing fancy here, just a few drops of really good olive oil, some balsamic, salt and pepper, and a little heat. You could put a few toast points on the side and some soup, and you have the perfect Springtime lunch.
Springtime Salad with Caramelized Ramps, Asparagus, and Fried Duck Egg - Serves 1
1 large handful spring greens, washed in a few changes of water and spun dry. I used mache, but arugula, mesclun mix, or any tender spring green would do fine
small handful of ramps, optional, white parts only
6 spears asparagus
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp good extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Place the cleaned and dried greens in a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle liberally with salt and a little freshly cracked black pepper. Place on a plate and set aside.
Bring a small pot of well-salted water to a boil. Blanch the ramps for 1 minute and set aside. Blanch the asparagus for 4 minutes and set aside. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Add the ramps and a little balsamic, toss to coat. Brown the ramps lightly but do not burn! Burnt ramps are as terrible as burnt garlic! Set the ramps aside and add the asparagus to the pan. Toss the asparagus, adding a little salt and pepper. Place on top of the greens, along with the ramps.
Wipe the pan with a paper towel and add a little more olive oil, heating the pan again. Fry the egg to desired doneness, about 2 minutes one side, flip and cook one minute more. Place on top of salad and sprinkle with a little salt. Break the yolk, letting it melt into the salad. Yum! Tastes like Spring!