Quick! Make These Fried Eggs With Morels, Ramps, and Bacon

20160509-morel-ramp-fried-egg-toast-1.jpg

[Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]

There's not really much to say about fried eggs with ramps and morels sautéed in butter (and a little bacon fat), other than that, with the exception perhaps of a perfectly fresh everything bagel with cream cheese, it's my favorite breakfast.

I suppose I could mention that the first time I tried morels, ramps, and bacon together was when I was a green, never-seen-a-morel-in-my-life line cook at No. 9 Park in Boston. The chef de cuisine was kind enough to not just personally demonstrate how to cook them but to actually serve me a whole plate for a family meal. He did it with easy, practiced hands, rendering the bacon fat with a little water, sautéing the morels until they were just crisp around the edges, searing the ramps so the whites browned and the green leaves became charred and crunchy, mounting the whole thing with butter and lemon juice, then pouring it all over a crisp-edged, molten-yolked fried egg.

It's also probably worth talking a bit about why morels and ramps make such a sublime pairing. There is the whole "what grows together goes together" thing, and both morels and ramps have extremely short spring seasons. But that's not the real reason. The reason is that ramps, more than any other allium I can think of, have a way of releasing their flavor into whatever fat (whether it's bacon fat, butter, or olive oil) you're cooking them in. Meanwhile, there is no mushroom—perhaps no food, period—that is better at absorbing those flavors than a morel, with its hollow core and deeply ridged surface. The bacon—well, it's bacon, which needs no explaining.

20160509-morel-ramp-fried-egg-toast-3.jpg

I cook my morels, ramps, and bacon essentially the same way I was taught all those years ago, although I do like to add a little butter up front to get some of that deeply browned butter flavor. I also add the tiniest splash of soy sauce along with the lemon juice at the end, to boost the savoriness of the mushrooms.

Everything about this dish is quick. The season is quick, the preparation is quick, and quickest of all is the eating.