Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ramps Recipe - Ramps Bagels

Ramps (Allium tricoccum) are an easy item for many foragers to start with. In the spring, areas of wet forest are blanketed with the green leaves that grow mostly in pairs. The leaves are lanceolate, 8-12 inches long, flat and wide. The leaves are smooth and have almost a rubbery feel, and lack veins. When bruised, they emit a distinct garlic smell. Many communities in Appalchia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania hold festivals in the spring to celebrate the ramps, featuring this foraged food in local specialties. The leaves are gathered and chopped up to add to dishes, imparting a oniony/garlicky flavor. Ramps can be found at farmer's markets and in fancy restaurants. We gather them to use immediately, and then clean and chop more leaves to freeze for use all year. We add the chopped leaves to soups and biscuits, and pretty much anything that you would add garlic or onion to, like scrambled eggs, potatoes, dips, and beans.

In autumn, it is the bulbs that are dug up and used like onion bulbs. It may be a bit harder to find the bulbs, since all that is visible is the dried flower stalk, usually still bearing black seeds in clusters of three in an umbel. Push aside the leaf litter and you will see the tips of the bulbs. Sometimes there are clusters of bulbs to dig up.

I had beeen making plain bagels since I came across a recipe on Serious Eats. It seemed like a logical and delicious step to make them flavored with freshly chopped ramps greens for the spring. We eat them with plain and vegetable cream cheese.

Ramps Bagels          makes about 12 bagels

19.25 oz. King Arthur bread flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 T white sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 c. finely chopped ramps greens
12 oz. hot water (120°)
2 T demerara sugar
1 egg, beaten with 1 T water

1. In a food processor with the dough blade, pulse together the flour, yeast, white sugar, salt and chopped ramps greens.

2. Add the hot water slowly through the chute, and contnue processing until the dough is elastic, about 30 seconds.

3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 hour.

4. Divide the dough into 12 portions, about 2 oz. each.

5. Prepare a water bath by mixing 16 c. of water with the demerara sugar and bring it to a rolling boil in a large pot. Heat the oven to 500° F.

6. Shape the portioned dough into 7" snakes, pinch the ends together to form bagels. Alternatively, form balls with the portioned dough and poke a hole in the middle. Widen the hole with a few fingers. Allow the shaped bagels to rest on sheetpans sprinkled with cornmeal for 10 minutes.

7. Boil up to 3 bagels at a time in the water bath, cooking for 30 seconds on each side. Tranfer the boiled bagels back to the sheetpan and brush with the eggwash.

8. Bake the bagels for 15 mintues, flip them over on the sheetpan, reduce the heat to 350°F and cook them 10 minutes longer.


Eileen said...

These sound nothing short of amazing--but ramps don't grow in California! TRAGIC. I bet green garlic would be a good substitute, though.

The 3 Foragers said...

Ramps may not grow in the wild in California, but the local Whole Foods in Connecticut was selling ramps cultivated in California for $14.99 a pound last week. Silly, since the amount of fossil fuels needed to transport them is high, and we have them growing quite commonly here in Connecticut.