Baldur and Wally were excited for our first foraging trip to the woods where we harvested a basket full of fragrant ramps, or wild leeks while they frolicked. It was so magical to see the forest floor coming alive with wild flowers, and to hear the busy thrushes and red-winged blackbirds along the river.
All weekend long we seasoned our dishes with the garlicky-oniony flavours: from omelettes, to pasta dishes, and sauces to accompany grilled meat and fish. While the raw ramps are very pungent, a quick grill or sauté mellows the flavours.
Grilled Lamb Sirloins with Wild Leek Chimichurri
4-6 lamb sirloins
for the rub:
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
for the Wild Leek Chimichurri
10-12 ramps, cleaned
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup fresh mint
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Assemble the rub, and sprinkle it over all sides of the lamb. Let stand at room temperature for ½ hour before grilling.
Meanwhile, cut the leaves off of the wild leeks, and discard ½ of them. Roughly chop the white part of the ramps and place them in a blender or food processor with the remaining leaves, herbs, lemon zest and juice, and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a stream while pulsing the blender. Test-add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
Preheat the barbecue on MEDIUM HIGH for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to MEDIUM LOW. Holding one of the sirloins with tongs, run the fatty side of the meat along the hot grills to grease them well. Lay that sirloin and the rest on the grill on a diagonal. Close the lid and cook for 2 minutes, then flip to the other side on the same diagonal. Cook for 2 minutes then flip to the other side on the opposite diagonal. After 2 minutes, turn to the other side on the same diagonal for a final 2 minutes of cooking time. Transfer to a platter or cutting board and tent with foil for 5 minutes before serving with the Chimichurri.
Grilled Halibut and Ramps with Jalapeno-lime-ginger Sauce
We modified a sauce recipe from Modern Sauces, Martha Holmberg(2012) in order to use more of the beautiful ramps that we foraged last weekend. It was fresh and bright served over the grilled ramps and halibut.
2 halibut fillets (1 kg)
large handful ramps, well cleaned and trimmed
2 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
zest of 1 lime
For the Sauce:
½ cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
¼ wine vinegar
2 tbsp minced ramps
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
6 tbsp butter, very cold, in one piece.
Preheat barbecue on HIGH for 5 minutes, then reduce to MEDIUM.
To prepare halibut for grilling by pat it dry with paper towels, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and lime zest and drizzle with olive oil. Brush ramps lightly with oil. Set aside until ready to grill.
Place halibut and ramps on well oiled grids over direct heat and grill for 8-10 minutes. Remove from grids carefully, with a long, wide spatula and place on a platter. Garnish the halibut with the grilled ramps and drizzle with Jalapeno-lime-ginger sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side.
Combine lime juice, wine vinegar, ramps, jalapeno pepper and grated ginger in a heavy-bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until reduced by half. This will take approximately 5 minutes.
The next step is critical to the success of the sauce and should be done just before the halibut is being served. Add the chunk of butter to the reduced sauce and move it around the pan with a fork or whisk. As it start to melt, the sauce will bubble around the butter and will begin to look creamy. Keep stirring until the butter is just melted. Remove the pan from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste, with sea salt and more lime juice, if desired. Serve immediately. The sauce was also delicious on the roasted fingerling potatoes and grilled corn that we prepared to accompany the halibut.