Sometimes it just feels good to splurge, ya know?
This little salad is pretty much a complete cooking splurge for me. The hard to find, seasonal veggies; the soycurls (to purchase, I have to order them online); the reliance on Vegenaise in copious amounts; and Oregon’s Freddy Guys hazelnuts that I just received via care package from a true sweetheart of a gal (thanks Julie!), all make for a recipe I may enjoy, oh say, once a year. But the splurge on ingredients is what makes this salad so damn good.
Luckily, living in Ohio has its perks… I was able to source the fiddleheads from my own yard, and came across a boatload of ramps while hiking the other day (okay, we deliberately set out in search of ramps and morels– ’tis the season!). If you don’t find yourself near any areas that may hold this natural bounty… check your local farmer’s markets or even a grocery store with a good variety of produce.
And alas, if you still can’t get your hands on any ramps and fiddleheads, these can easily be subbed out for other, less “exotic” ingredients… like spinach, asparagus and shallots.
However, I must say, if you can find all of these ingredients, by all means, use them. They really make this recipe fantastic. The sweetness and pungency of the ramps is enough to flavor the whole darn salad. And, the mild grassy freshness of the fiddleheads paired with the rich hazelnuts really bring this dish into fruition. Aside from sourcing the ingredients, this salad is simple and amazing. To me, it’s one of the best ways to celebrate the bounty of spring.
- 2 cups dry soy curls
- 3 cups water
- 2 cubes not chick’n bouillon
- 1/2 cup ramp (wild leek) bulbs (or shallots, peeled and ends chopped off)
- 2 cups chopped ramp greens (or 2 cups spinach)
- ramp stems, the red sections, chopped small and reserved for adding at the end (or about 1/4 cup chopped chives)
- 1/2 cup fiddleheads (or asparagus tips)
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Vegenaise
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts (or pecans, or walnuts)
- salt for veggies while they cook
- freshly cracked black pepper
Boil water along with bouillon cubes and pour over soycurls.
Cover and let rest about ten minutes; in the meantime, prepare your ramps and fiddleheads!
First, make sure your ramps are well cleaned, both the leaves and bulbs.
Separate bulbs into one bowl,
and chop up leaves and place them into another bowl. Chop and reserve red stems for later….
Next, wash and thoroughly remove any brown papery skins on your fiddleheads.
By now, your soy curls should be nice and plump and re-hydrated. Drain them well, and let cool until you feel comfy squeezing all the liquid out with your hands.
Lightly fry up the soycurls in a little cooking oil to make them crispy. I let mine roll for about 5 minutes, just to give ‘em a slight crunch on the edges.
Place in fridge to cool completely while you cook the veggies.
Add a couple of tablespoons oil to a non-stick or cast iron pan and saute up the ramp bulbs over medium high heat. Once they just begin to brown on edges, reduce heat to medium, and add about 1/8 cup of water. Salt lightly. Continue to cook until soft and all water is absorbed. You may need to add a bit more water if they aren’t cooked enough for your taste, and again, cook until all water is absorbed and bulbs are soft.
Next, add fiddleheads into the pan with the ramp bulbs. Again, salt fiddleheads very lightly. Saute all veggies just until fiddleheads are turning tender. Don’t overcook them! Finally, toss in the chopped ramp greens and cook until all leaves have wilted and resemble cooked spinach.
Toss cooked veggies into the same bowl as the soycurls you have in the fridge. Let everything remain in the fridge until it all has cooled completely.
Once all ingredients have been well chilled, toss together with vegenaise and vinegar. Fold in hazelnuts and crisp ramp stems (the chopped red sections). Top with freshly cracked black pepper.
Place in between your favorite sandwich bread…
or eat as an appetizer finger food type treat. Also excellent atop a bed of greens. Enjoy!