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I love ramps. A lot. For the few weeks during the spring when they are around, they are easily my favorite vegetable.* Not quite a scallion, not quite garlic, not quite an onion, they're fresher, more pungently scented, but sweeter and more mildly flavored than any of them, and they go particularly well with butter. And mushrooms. And pork. And eggs. And toast. And shellfish. And burgers. And... and all kinds of stuff, we we'll see this week.
I know there are some ramp haters out there. The kind who like to rain on everyone else's parade. People who just don't get it, don't see the importance or excitement of ingredients that are rare or available only for a few weeks out of the year. I have a thing or two to say to you guys, and if you're one of those folks, you can go sit under your own private rain cloud Charlie Brown-style in the corner while the rest of us enjoy the all-too-short ramp season.
*My favorite vegetables tend to swing around seasonally, as they should.
For the rest of you, we'll be making a half dozen ramp recipes this week ranging from dumplings to gravy to quesadillas.
Today, we start with breakfast.
Ramps and eggs are natural partners, and there are few egg recipes simpler for a crowd than a frittata.
While at its simplest, a frittata is nothing more than beaten eggs with some mix-ins cooked in a skillet, I like to go the extra mile to make them puffy. Somewhere between a soufflé and a Spanish-style tortilla.
To do this, all you've got to do is whip some of the whites into soft peaks before folding them back into the rest of the eggs.
As the frittata cooks, the air bubbles trapped in the egg whites heat up and inflate, causing the whole thing to puff up like a balloon. The puffiness doesn't last long—at least not the dramatic, over-the-lip-of-the-pan bit of it. As soon as the frittata comes out of the oven, it'll start to cool and deflate, but either way, it ends up far lighter and fluffier than it would with just plain eggs.
To incorporate the ramps, I keep it simple: sautée them in butter before folding them into the eggs. Didn't I say that ramps and butter are buddies?
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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.