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Ramps, asparagus and ham

Ramps, asparagus and ham
Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

The best way to get to Paula Wolfert's house is to start out by the duck pond in the Sonoma town square. Drive east through a neighborhood of beautifully maintained Victorian and Craftsman-style homes. After a couple of blocks, you'll ... Read more

Total time: 45 minutes | Serves 8
  • 2 pounds (about 5 dozen) ramps, trimmed and cleaned like green onions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 pounds thin asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Serrano ham, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Plantin black truffle oil or other top quality oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 1/4 pound baby tender sweet salad greens, washed and dried
  • 1 package sunflower sprouts, rinsed and patted dry

Step 1Place a shallow flameproof casserole (preferably earthenware), or an enameled cast-iron pan over low heat, add the ramps with the butter, cover with a sheet of crumbled wet parchment and cook gently until the ramps soften, 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 2Lift off the parchment, add three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper, the asparagus, cream and ham; gently toss, cover with the same parchment paper and a lid and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes, or until the asparagus and ramps are tender. Add one-half teaspoon of the black truffle oil; stir to combine.

Step 3Remove the asparagus, ramps and ham from the pan with a slotted spoon. Divide among 8 plates. Cook the cream and cooking juices to thicken and reduce to about 2 tablespoons, about 2 minutes.

Step 4Make a light vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar, salt and pepper, walnut oil and the remaining one-half teaspoon truffle oil. Add the reduced cream-cooking juice to the vinaigrette.

Step 5In a mixing bowl, toss half the vinaigrette with the baby greens. Dribble the remaining vinaigrette over the ramps and asparagus.

Step 6Divide the salad evenly among the 8 plates. Garnish each serving with a sprig or two of sunflower sprouts and serve.

Note: From Paula Wolfert's upcoming clay pot cookbook. You may substitute 3 pounds green garlic or baby leeks for the ramps. Plantin black truffle oil is available online at www.plantin.com. Sunflower sprouts are available at farmers markets.


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