Things that are good:
[x] Ramp dumplings
[x] Bacon dumplings
[x] Ramps and bacon
There is only one logical conclusion to this series of statements:
[xxxxxx] Bacon and Ramp Dumplings.
Get it? Got it? Good. Here's how you do it.
For this to work, I knew that I needed to balance the flavor of both the bacon and the ramps, and that the filling needed to come together in a cohesive yet tender and moist consistency after cooking. I tried a number of different combinations of fillings before I settled on the final recipe.
Using straight up bacon is just a bit too smoky, overwhelming everything in its path. A combination of fatty pork and bacon was much better. I love the fact that bacon is already cured, making it great at retaining moisture (like a good sausage), even when you cook it to well done. But texturewise, you need something in there to break up the meatiness. Salted finely chopped cabbage is the standard addition and I saw no reason to sway from it. It breaks up texture without distracting from the flavor of the filling.
Speaking of flavor, a dash of soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine, a tiny tiny drizzle of sesame oil (the stuff is powerful!), some sugar, and ginger are my go-to dumpling flavorings.
But what about the ramps? Yeah, what about them? These are ramp dumplings after all.
Yes, it gets ramps. If I were using yellow chives for my dumplings I'd add them in directly raw, but with ramps I always like to sautée them first to give them a bit of charring and caramelization, making their natural sugars even sweeter. A brief stir-fry in a wok is easy enough, especially since we'll be using that wok to crisp up our dumplings later.
You can use store-bought dumpling wrappers with the recipe (linked above and below), or if you want to go all out, I've included a recipe for homemade dumpling wrappers.
Get the Recipe!
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.