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Ramps are completely at home in tortilla española

Our gluttonous ramp-age continues as we scramble to exploit our last locally-foraged (and free!) crop of fresh ramps before moving to the Northwest. Ramps are traditionally served with ham, potatoes, eggs, or a combination thereof. Since using bacon for another ramp feature felt a little like cheating, I got to day-dreaming about ramp-y frittatas and such when I realized I hadn’t made a tortilla Española since high school… Why not use ramps in this classic Spanish potato omelet? I’m sure a wayward Spaniard or two have made their way to Appalachia at some point, only to find an Eldorado littered with stinky, delicious wild alliums. Time to start writing the movie script…

Of course, a few more adjustments were in order to make this Spanish dish jive with my Southern-food-loving palate. Ramps and butter are made for each other, so butter replaces olive oil as the cooking fat. Since ramps are hard to find, polarizing, and often pricey, I only used around a quarter pound. That said, I was tempted to add twice as many. If you have enough and know everyone that eats this loves them as much as you do, feel free to double the amount.

You can serve tortilla Española hot or cold. I like them either way, cut in wedges and served atop some greens tossed with a simple vinaigrette. Another popular way of serving tortilla Española is thickly-sliced in a baguette sandwich with shaved Serrano ham and mayo. Feel free to stick with the Serrano, but shaved country ham seems the most appropriate. Either way, it's a delicious collision of all three traditional ramp accompaniments... Best. Breakfast. Sandwich. Ever.

As with any ramp recipe, you can substitute wild or spring onions if you’re having trouble finding them. Enjoy!

Ramp-Potato Omelet
6 servings

Clean and trim:
     ¼ pound ramps (about 20 bulbs)
Cut the green tops off, roughly chop, and set aside. Split the white bottoms in half.
Heat in a small, oven-proof skillet, over medium heat:
     ¼ cup butter (half a stick)
     Salt and black pepper to taste
Add the split ramp whites and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove to a large bowl. Cook the ramp greens in the oil until lightly wilted, about 30 seconds, and remove to the bowl as well.
Add and brown in batches:
     1 pound red-skinned potatoes, cut into ⅛-inch slices 
Cook each batch for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes to paper towels to drain. Set the pan aside with the oil in it. Beat and add to the ramps:
     6 large eggs
     ½ teaspoon salt
Sprinkle the potatoes with:
     Salt and black pepper to taste
Add the potatoes to the egg mixture and toss to coat the slices well with the egg. Set your oven to broil. Return the skillet to high heat and heat the butter remaining in the pan. When the butter begins to smoke, quickly swirl it around to coat the entire pan surface, add the egg mixture, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Let the omelet cook for 3 to 4 minutes, undisturbed, until the bottom is golden and the egg are two-thirds to three-quarters set. Shake the pan from time to time to make sure the omelet does not stick. If it does, slide a spatula under it to free it from the pan. Cook the top under the broiler until the top is firm. Shake the omelet to loosen it from the pan and slide onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature on a bed of dressed greens, or sliced on a baguette with shaved, cured ham and mayonaisse.

 

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This recipe is easily scaled up and down. Just figure on 4-6 ounces of protein, 3 ounces of dried rice noodles (slightly more if they are “fresh”), and a heaping cup of greens and sliced...