This recipe was created for our spring menu at Scratch Food & Beverage. It’s the first time I’ve had full creative control over a menu, and I’ve been looking forward to making really tasty and pretty vegetable-focused dishes. I took components that I thought worked together, but also [used] pairings that are unusual. Asparagus and horseradish have intensely fresh and earthy flavors. The pickled and roasted ramps bring sweetness and bright acidic notes as well as pungent onion and garlic flavors. The pistachios and egg balance the dish by adding richness. Whether there are three or 23 ingredients doesn’t matter, as all the components have a purpose.
- 1 lb. asparagus, rinsed and woody ends cut off
- ¼ cup pickled ramp bottoms, sliced thin
- 1 cup sautéed ramp greens, rough chopped
- ½ cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, rough-chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 2-inch piece of fresh horseradish
- 4 8-minute eggs, cut into fourths
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup white-wine vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 1/8 cup salt
Separate ramp tops from ramp bottoms with a knife. Sauté ramp tops in olive oil and salt. Place in bowl and cool completely, then refrigerate. For pickling, combine ingredients in a pot. Bring this brine to a boil and pour over top of the bowl of ramp bottoms. Let come to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Toss asparagus in canola oil and salt. Grill until tender. Cool completely. In a big mixing bowl, toss chilled asparagus, pickled ramps, two tablespoons of pickling liquid, sautéed ramps, pistachios, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Place salad on a large flat plate and spread vegetables relatively flat. Place hard-boiled eggs on top of salad. Microplane fresh horseradish over entire dish. Garnish with more olive oil. Serves four to six people as a side dish.