Ramps and fiddleheads join with the first asparagus to create a delicious dish using black forbidden rice.
Wild ramps and fiddleheads have made their spring debut in Southern Vermont and at least one of them finds its way to our dinner plates most nights. Whether a simple sauté or soup, or a component in a more complicated recipe, these spring treasures sing of the season and are a the spring tonic we’ve been waiting for!
Simple supper with delightful flavor
We love a rice bowl covered with whatever is fresh and good at the market or farm stand. Simple cooking with local ingredients, and you can’t go wrong. The black forbidden rice is widely available packaged, or sold in bulk in co-ops and health food stores. It has a delicious nutty flavor and texture.
Not every area has these wild vegetable treasures, but you can still make this dish! There are some good substitutes. If you can’t find ramps, you can substitute baby spinach or Swiss chard leaves and add a clove or two of minced garlic. If you can’t find fiddleheads, just double the asparagus. You can also use any mushroom here you like here. Take care to prep the fiddleheads (instructions here) or they will be much to bitter to enjoy.
Forbidden Rice with Wild Spring Vegetables
- 8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small bunch of ramps, cleaned
- 1 large shallot, minced, or half an onion
- 1 ½ cups forbidden rice
- 1/3 cup cognac, or stock
- 3 cups of vegetable stock or water
- 6 oz. asparagus, sliced into 1” pieces on diagonal
- 6 oz. fiddleheads, cleaned and blanched
If using ramps, cut the bulbs from the leaves and dice.
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms in the olive oil over medium high heat until starting to brown. Flip, and cook a few more minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. The mushrooms lend a lot of flavor to the oil. Add the fiddleheads and the asparagus, and sauté just until crisp tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside as well.
Add the ramp bulbs and the shallot and sauté for a couple of minutes, then dump in the rice. Continue to sauté for about three minutes, making sure all the rice is coated.
Deglaze the pan with the cognac scraping up any fond on the bottom of the pan, then add the stock or water. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until tender but still a bit chewy.
Add the asparagus and fiddleheads back in, reserving a few to garnish your bowls. Let cook a few minutes, them add the ramp leaves. Swirl them in, salt and pepper to taste, cover, remove from heat, and let this set for five minutes, or until the leaves are wilted.
Put your serving of rice in the bowl and top with the reserved mushrooms and vegetables, and sprinkle with a little flaked salt.
This makes great leftovers, or a delicious next-day breakfast frittata!
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