I do it every year, I put ‘M’s on my calendar on the weekends that there might be morels to find in the woods upstate. It’s not just them, those sneaky, wrinkly recluses; it’s the ramps, the asparagus that pop up for no explicable reason, three feet high, slender as a No. 2 pencil over by the sundial in our yard. The air is sweet and soft on bare arms and the bugs are back and I don’t even mind them. Everything is lilac and honeysuckle-scented; the rosé starts to flow. It’s spring. It’s spring. It’s almost summer and I’m hungry.
There are so many elaborate ways to praise the spring bounty, but I usually wind up devoting some to simple egg and pasta dishes. After all, what could be more seductive than scrambled eggs with caviar or simple cacio e pepe with a few slices of grated truffles over it? My point is that often simplest ingredients show off the more rarefied, subtly flavored ones.
So after a day of lucky foraging, helped greatly by my knowing guide, I line my booty up. Ramps rinsed and trimmed: bulbs chopped, leaves set aside. Mushrooms, brushed of soil and halved lengthwise, lain on baking trays in a resting oven to dry out. Asparagus, scraped and sliced. Fiddleheads fiddling.
I perfected my frittata skills while waitressing breakfasts at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, where chef April Bloomfield serves a seasonal one that made a lasting impression on me. I will never cook a frittata without thinking of her penchant for bold flavors, like bitter broccoli rabe and verdant swiss chard that she balanced perfectly with creamy ricotta and lemon zest. This recipe can adapt to almost any greens that are available. Radicchio and endive would be great as well. As long as you’ve got bold flavors from good ingredients, a little lemon zest and creamy cheese, you can’t go wrong.
12 large fresh farm eggs
1 bunch of ramps
5-6 fiddlehead ferns
sea salt, fresh pepper
1/2 lemon, juice and zest
5-6 tablespoons Ricotta cheese
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, oregano, chives, or lovage
Pre-heat the oven to 400. Whisk 12 eggs together until smooth, adding a pinch of sea salt.
Warm olive oil in a frying pan and add chopped ramp stems and bulbs, followed by chopped asparagus, fiddleheads, fava beans and ramp greens, as available. With a microplane, zest half a lemon over greens and add a squeeze of juice, seasoning with sea salt and fresh pepper. Sauté until just fork tender.
Add a generous glug of olive oil, turn up the flame to high and move veggies around pan to make sure pan’s surface area is coated. Pour egg mixture into pan, moving the veggies around to disperse evenly. Add 5-6 dollops (tablespoons) of ricotta cheese, spaced out evenly in pan. Remove from stovetop and place in pre-heated oven to cook through (approx. 8 minutes).
When the frittata is puffed up, souflée-like, and just barely firm at the center it’s done. Remove from the oven and using a spatula, gently separate from the edges of the pan. Remove from pan and place on large plate. To finish, drizzle with olive oil, season with a little sea salt and fresh pepper, herbs and grated Parmesan cheese.
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