Monday, May 13, 2013

egg and lemon soup with ramps.

If you didn't know then i am here to tell you that the food blogosphere is obsessed with ramps. No ingredient seems to elicit more commentary and all around obsession then ramps do mostly because its the first non root vegetable to show up in the east coast after months of seeing only root vegetables. They are a beautiful sight to see. They are also damm near impossible to find outside the world of farmers markets (though Whole Foods seems to be selling them currently) which makes them all the more special.  I finally got my hands on some this past week and I raced home to finally make ramp pizza and this egg and lemon soup.  This soup is amazingly complex despite having just a handful (literally a handful) of pantry staple ingredients.  The lemon juice brings a beautiful brightness and lightness to the dish which makes it taste like the epitome of spring.  The ramps bring in a lovely garlicky bite to the dish  that plays well with the lemon.  This would make for a wonderfully elegant appetizer for a fancy dinner party but I prefer it as a light Sunday evening dinner served with a side of crusty bread and fancy cheese.  It will make your Sunday evenings feel utterly French (which is what I strive for all my meals to feel like!)

Egg and Lemon Soup with Ramps
Recipe adapted from the NYTimes

A couple of things to note here – homemade chicken broth is the only way to go in this recipe.  Canned chicken broth while easy and cheap lacks the flavor that is necessary to make this dish shine. 

If you can’t get ramps or if you want to make this after ramp season is over, I think a combination of leeks and spinach would be pretty spectacular (or spinach and spring garlic).  Cook the leeks/spring garlic as you would the ramp bulbs in the below and chop the spinach as if it were the ramp leaves. 

5 cups homemade, well-seasoned chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large eggs at room temperature
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
6 – 8 ramps (or about half a bundle)

Trim hairy ends off ramp bulbs.  Separate ramp bulbs/stems from darker leafy ends.  Thinly slice the stem ends; cut the leafier ends into 1/2 – inch thick ribbons. 

In a large stock/soup pot, heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  When hot add the ramp sliced ramp stems/bulb only to the pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 -5 minutes until the ramp have softened and turned light brown. 

Pour the broth into the soup pot with the sautéed ramps and bring to a simmer.  With a whisk, beat the eggs and lemon juice together in a medium bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Ladle 2 cups of hot broth slowly into the egg mixture, whisking to temper.  Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot, whisk well, and turn the heat to low.  Add the chopped ramp leaves. 

Continue whisking over low heat until the soup is ever so slightly thickened.  (Do not allow to simmer, or soup will curdle.)  Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread and fancy cheeses. 

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