I love to cook with the changing seasons, ushering in spring changes the way I cook. Local produce in February mainly consists of cabbage and potatoes. I cook lots of soup. It gets boring. To me the beginning of the growing season starts with ramps and morels. I feel more alive with ideas and eager to cook new things as I dream about the upcoming growing season. With ramps and morels the possibilities are endless, but even simply sautéed in butter or scrambled in eggs, ramps and morels are fabulous.
Ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a yummy, garlicky, onion flavour. They can be found at some higher end grocery stores but they are expensive. I paid $4 for a tiny bunch. Even more expensive, morels are packed with a lovely deep smokey, mushroom smell. The beauty about this time of year is that both can be found in fields and woody areas right in your backyard, that is if you are lucky enough to find someone to point them out to you while out tramping around on a spring walk. (Word to the wise: mushrooms can be dangerous so make sure that someone knows what they are talking about!). Thankfully my sister-in-law’s father is just that someone. I was the happy recipient of two bags filled with ramps and morels after a weekend romp up north.If you are not blessed with a someone or you inhabit the concrete jungle, hit the farmers markets or even plant a container garden. Check out our summer issue (on newsstands now!) for 25 ideas inspired by fresh produce. Go on get inspired by fresh food.
Five Step Vegetarian Risotto with Ramps and Morels
1 L vegetable stock
1 tbsp each: butter and olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 cup chopped morels
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
one bunch of cleaned ramps, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled Boursin cheese
1 Heat stock in a pot until simmering.
2 Over medium high heat, melt butter in a large pot with a heavy bottom. Add oil.
3 Sauté onion, garlic and morel until wilted then add rice. Stir until rice is well coated in oil and has lost its chalky exterior.
4 Stir in 3 1/2 cups of stock. Bring to a boil, cover pot with lid and reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes.
5 Risotto test time: If stock has completely been absorbed but rice is not al dente, add remaining stock, cover and let simmer for 5 more minutes. If rice is ready, stir in ramps and cheese.