Posts Tagged ‘Ramps’

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

When the weather changes, I find that my methods for cooking change, as well.  I’ve mentioned before that we live in an old Victorian house (110 years old to be exact).  We do not have central air, so we make-do with our window units.  When it’s a scorcher of a day, I generally avoid using the oven because the air conditioners just can’t keep up.  And this happens often during our Minnesota summers.  Honestly, sometimes it’s even too hot for me to stand next to a grill outside.  I’m painting quite a lovely picture of the hot mess that is me during the summer, aren’t I?  I’m not a fan of the heat, but I try to cope.

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

I love summer pizza, but since I’m unwilling to endure the added heat of firing up my pizza stone– at 500°F for thirty plus minutes– I turn to this skillet method.  A pizza loaded with fresh herbs, fresh mozzarella and all of those fresh tomatoes is my thing.   I used ramps, mushrooms, ricotta, and smoked mozzarella for this version, but you can use whatever you prefer.  If you can get your hands on some morel mushrooms, please do that and think of me when you eat it.  Please.  I’m very particular about my pizza crust.  If it’s not perfect, it’s not worth my time.  I like a nice crunch on the outside, tender on the inside (NOT doughy), and a lovely deep flavor throughout.  Over the years of making homemade pizza I learned something about myself– the longer the pizza dough hangs out it my fridge, the more I like it.  So, I never make pizza dough the day I want to eat it, and rarely even the day before.  I make it a few days prior and the flavor develops beautifully.  The texture is spot on, as well.  It’s loaded with air pockets from the yeast.

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

Using a cast-iron skillet works wonderfully for making pizza.  Use whatever size you have.  I have an old 10-inch.  Coat it with olive oil and let it heat up.  Then place the rolled-out dough in it.  Let it cook just a bit until it has a light golden color.  Add more olive oil, if necessary and flip it over.  Add the toppings and cover with a lid.  Cook over medium-high heat until the bottom of the crust is the color that you desire.  I like mine a little on the dark side.  When you get there, place the skillet (no lid) directly under the broiler for a few minutes to darken up the cheese (this will go quickly). Watch carefully, as broilers tend to be finicky.  You may even need to move the pan around for even browning.   Remove when pizza is a deep golden brown.  The entire process takes no time at all and you’re left with a delicious pizza that has an incredible crust.  Speaking of the crust– I jump back and forth from using two favorite recipes.  This one, which I’ve previously blogged about and the one I’m sharing today.  They are both fantastic.  Whichever one you choose,  just try to make it a few days in advance– it really does make a difference.  I like the crust recipe I’m sharing today because it fits wonderfully into a gallon-sized ice cream bucket and because it’s ridiculously easy to mix up.  Dump, stir, done.  You may not use the whole thing in one sitting, but you can either use it within two weeks, or even freeze it in plastic bags.  Enjoy the pizza!

Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella | Relishing It

The Recipe: Skillet Pizza on the Stovetop with Ramps, Mushrooms, and Smoked Mozzarella

(serves 1-2)

Pizza Dough 

(makes enough dough for 3-4 12-inch pizzas and will keep for 2 weeks in the refrigerator)

1 1/2 cups plus 4 teaspoons  (about 355 grams) water heated to 100°F

1/2 tablespoon granulated yeast

3/4 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 3/4 cups (540 grams) all-purpose flour

Skillet Pizza:

(using a 10-inch cast-iron skillet)

3 ounces pizza dough

2 ounces smoked mozzarella, grated

1-2 ramps (or scallions) chopped

6 crimini mushrooms, thickly sliced (or Morels!)

a few dollops of ricotta cheese

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

extra-virgin olive oil

Begin a few days in advance by preparing the pizza dough.  In a gallon-sized ice cream bucket (or anything of that size that has a non-airtight lid) add the heated water, yeast, salt, and olive oil.  Use a Danish dough hook or a wooden spoon to mix everything together.  Then add the flour and give it a really good stir using the hook to really incorporate everything.  You’ll want all of the flour to be wet.  The mixture will look shaggy.  Cover with the lid (I use a nail to poke a tiny hole in the top of mine (this lets the gases escape when it’s refrigerated).  Let it rise at room temperature for two hours.  Do not ever punch this dough down.  Technically, the dough could be used at this point.  But, this particular dough works better when cold.  And tastes a whole lot better after a night or two in the refrigerator.

When ready to make a skillet pizza, remove some dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up for a few minutes, as it is easier to work with.  Dust some flour on the counter and a bit on the dough (don’t be shy with the flour).  Form a ball.  Roll it out to the size of your skillet (if it doesn’t roll easily, just let it rest for a few minutes). Coat the skillet with a bit of olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.  Shake off any excess flour from the pizza dough and place it in the skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip it, adding more olive oil if necessary.  The olive oil gives the crust a nice crunch to it.  Immediately place the sliced garlic clove, a heavy drizzle of olive oil, ramps, ricotta cheese, mushroom, and smoked mozzarella on top of the pizza.  Cover with a lid (to help it melt) and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.  Then remove it from the stove and place it directly under the broiler (no lid) for a few minutes until the cheese is your desired color.  Move the pan around, if necessary.  Remove from the oven, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of good sea salt.  Enjoy!

Pizza Dough adapted from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

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Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Finally.  Warm weather is finally here in Minnesota!  I know parts of the country have been having ridiculous heat waves recently, but we’ve been waiting (not-so-very) patiently for the weather to get nice here.  Yesterday  it finally did, and it was glorious!  It’s remarkable to see the change in attitude and manners once decent weather shows up.  Everyone– and I mean everyone– is just so much happier and more pleasant.  It’ll be another story once the high heat and humidity eventually find their way here.

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

I did my best yesterday to blind people with my extremely white Minnesota legs.  Not that this is any different than later in the summer.  I basically vary between stark white and just very pale.  Years ago I wished I had more color, but now I’m fine with my lack of sun-induced color, so I’ll continue to lather on the sunscreen.

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

Where was I going with all of this?  Oh yeah… summer, heat, shorts….potato salad!  Grilling last night was a no-brainer, so I made a bowl of one of my favorite summer potato salads to kick off the season.  In this version, I’ve accompanied the potatoes with spring ramps, radishes, celery, and parsley.  Ramps are fabulous, but are around for such a short time, scallions replace them when they are no longer available.  A delicate dressing of lemon, olive oil, garlic, and anchovies is poured on the warm yellow potatoes to really saturate them with flavor.  The crunchy vegetables are added later, once the potatoes have cooled a bit, then the remaining dressing is added.  This potato salad gets better and better the longer it sits.  And it’s perfect for picnics since it doesn’t contain any dairy.  I hope you give it a try!

Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes | Relishing It

The Recipe: Spring Potato Salad with Ramps and Radishes

3 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 bunch radishes, chopped

1 bunch ramps or scallions, chopped

handful of fresh parsley, chopped

2-3 stalks of celery, chopped

For the Dressing:

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

juice of 2 lemons (about 5 tablespoons)

3-4 small anchovies, smashed into a paste

1/2 cup good quality olive oil  (California Olive Ranch gets my vote)

salt and fresh cracked pepper

good crunchy sea salt to finish

Place a steamer in a large saucepan.  Add a bit of water to the bottom.  Add the potatoes and steam until potatoes are nearly done.  Turn off the burner and keep the cover on for an additional 10-15 minutes to ensure the potatoes are fully cooked.  This technique keeps the potatoes from being loaded with water, which sometimes happens when boiled, and from being over-cooked which can lead to mushiness.  Check them after 10 minutes, and if they’re tender, remove the lid.

Meanwhile, make the dressing.  In a medium bowl, add the garlic, anchovies, Dijon, lemon juice, and pinch of salt and pepper.  Whisk.  Then slowly add the olive oil, whisking the entire time.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Remember that potatoes require a bit of salt to let their flavor shine through.  However, the anchovies will supply a lot of that saltiness, so I generally wait to make a final judgment about adding more salt until the potato salad has been refrigerated and the flavors have had a chance to meld together.

When the potatoes are done steaming, add them to a large bowl and pour about 2/3 of the dressing over them while they are hot.  Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the potatoes and dressing together.  Let sit until mostly cool, then add the vegetables and the remainder of the dressing.  Fold everything together, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple of hours.  When ready to serve, let it come to room temperature– the flavors are brighter when they are not completely cold.   Sprinkle with a crunchy sea salt before serving.  Enjoy!

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A quick stroll through my dessert and cookie sections pretty much confirms that I have an insatiable sweet tooth.  Even so, when we go to our near-by patisserie, I choose a savory bite almost every time.  And if they’ve made a savory tartlet, my decision is easy.  Thankfully, I now have a recipe to make these little beauties at home– and this is one of the best tartlets I’ve ever had.

This wonderful, firm but flakey crust is made from olive oil rather than butter.  It lends a light floral, almost earthy, quality to the dish. Even though it is not par-baked, the crust becomes perfectly crispy on the outside, yet is still substantial enough to hold up to the liquid center.  Even after days in the refrigerator, the crust has an excellent texture.  And you know what that means– this is a great dish to make ahead of time.

The savory filling contains ramps, gouda, and goat cheese.  That’s right, it’s ramp season.  Remember last year when I was so excited and made this ramp pesto?  Well, I’m just as excited this year– and Radd is again making fun of the fact that I talk about ramps far too much.  If you don’t recall, or are unfamiliar with them, ramps are basically a wild leek.  They taste a bit like green onions combined with garlic.  If you find them, buy and enjoy them right away.  They’re not in season for long.  If you can’t find ramps, substitute green onions or leeks with a couple cloves of garlic.  It will still taste amazing.  I love the combination of ramps and goat cheese, and in this dish it really shines.  The goat cheese is soft and pillowy as you bite into the tartlet, while the gouda melts into the creamy center.  Enjoy!

The Recipe:  Ramp and Goat Cheese Tartlets

(Makes six 4-inch tarts or one 9 – 10-inch tart)

For the Savory Tart Dough:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup olive oil

For the Tart Filling:

about 1  1/4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

about 1  1/2 ounces gouda, grated

3 ramps, chopped (about 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon)

4 eggs

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

To make the Savory Tart Dough:  Place both flours, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the eggs and olive oil and pulse about 10-15 times until the dough forms a ball.  Remove dough and place on a lightly floured work surface.  Knead  3-4 times, careful not to over work the dough.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.   Can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or frozen.  The dough will defrost quickly at room temperature when you are ready to use it.

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Position rack in the center of the oven.  If making tartlets, measure out the dough into 6 equal portions, about 1  7/8 ounces each.  Roll the dough in a circle 1-inch larger than the tartlet pan or just press the dough evenly into the pans.  Distribute the goat cheese, gouda, and ramps evenly between the 6 pans.  In a small bowl, combine the eggs and cream and pour over each of the tarts, careful not to over fill them.

Place tartlets on a baking sheet and put into the oven.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is puffed and becoming golden brown, as well.  Serve the tartlets warm or at room temperature.  They keep well for about 3 days in a covered container in the refrigerator and can be reheated in a 350°F oven.  Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche, if desired. Enjoy!

Source:  Olive Oil Crust adapted from Nick Malgieri’s How to Bake

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I have been craving steamed mussels for a few weeks now.  The culprit was a visit to our favorite gastropub a month or two ago, where we shared steamed mussels with sliced chorizo sausage and had a few local craft beers.  It was a good night.  I love seafood, but don’t get a chance to eat it as much as I’d like here in the Upper Midwest.  A week later, as if to taunt me, the most recent issue of ‘Fine Cooking’ had a steamed-mussel recipe that looked similar to what I’d recently loved while out on the town.  Then I saw another variation on this theme on her blog.  Obviously this was a sign, so I headed down to Coastal Seafoods to buy some shellfish.

No, this is not a “local” dish.  I wish it were.  But fresh walleye is about as close to local seafood as I’m going to get in Minnesota, and this dish definitely won’t work with fish.  Now, back to the mussels.  I can’t believe I don’t make these more often!  They turn an ordinary middle-of-the-week dinner into an exciting and new meal.  Did I mention that they’re incredibly easy to make?  That they taste amazing?  That they’re relatively inexpensive?  How about this:  the whole process– start to finish– takes less than 30 minutes.

The mussels flavor is best described as a “briny goodness.”  The chorizo adds a little spice and contrasting texture.  I chose ground chorizo specifically because of this textural variation– and because we have a local (Yay!) brand that competes for the best I’ve ever tasted.  You can certainly use a Spanish-style, rather than ground, chorizo if you’d like.  Just slice it up 3/8 -inch thick.   The ramps (see here for a discussion on ramps), garlic, and smoked paprika combine nicely with the chorizo.  The dish is completed with a a small amount of white wine.  I made this with a Spanish Albariño– it’ll never lead you astray when matching with seafood.  The dish tastes spicy and divine.  Serve it with the garlicky croutons, pour a glass of that delicious wine, and settle in on the patio for the night.

The Recipe:  Steamed Mussels with Chorizo, Ramps, and Smoked Paprika

Serves 2, generously

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 2 thinly sliced

1/2 bunch of ramps, chopped  (white and green parts, only)

1 cup dry white wine,  an Albariño worked nicely (though I’m intrigued by how a minerally wine, like a Sancerre or even Chablis would change the flavor)

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1/2 pound ground chorizo

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 sprigs fresh)

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Microgreens (for garnish, optional)

Combine the olive oil and the 2 cloves of minced garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, brown the chorizo until fully cooked.  There should be a bit of oil leftover from the chorizo in the pan, if not add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the garlic and ramps and saute along with the chorizo for just a few minutes, until soft.  Add the smoked paprika and cook for 30 seconds longer.  Add the wine and thyme and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the mussels, coating them with the sauce mixture.  Cover and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until the mussels have opened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and brush them with the garlic oil, dividing the bits of garlic evenly among the slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then broil, rotating the baking sheet as needed, until evenly browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.  Make as many as you like.

Discard any mussels that have not opened.  Serve the mussels with the sauce, croutons, and microgreens.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Make sure to come out and support the National Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday.  Proceeds to support Share Our Strength.  Our local gathering in Minneapolis/ St. Paul is at the Midtown Global Market –920 East Lake St. Minneapolis.  The hours are 11:00am – 4:00 pm.  Check to see if your city is having one.

Thanks again for stopping by– I appreciate all of your kind comments.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


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Ramp Pesto

Spring is here!  I know, I know– it was official a while back.  But, it’s really official now because ramps have arrived! I look forward to ramp season every year– so much so that my husband eventually ridicules how often I mention “ramps.”  Unfortunately, they’re not available for long, which forces me to fit as many ramp recipes as I can into a brief amount of time.

For the uninitiated, a ramp is actually a wild leek.  Their flavor most closely resembles a cross between a green onion and garlic.  While this makes them versatile, I really love allowing their unique flavor to take center stage.  This pesto does just that.  The wonderful garlic notes from the ramps blend well with the parsley and parmesan without overpowering them.  And ramps and eggs are a heavenly match, whether scrambled (with chopped ramps) or poached, as in this version of Eggs Benedict.

There are many ways to get the most out of this pesto.  It’s a fantastic sauce for pasta with a sprinkle of parmesan, add it as a topping to a rich risotto, or spread some on a toasted baguette with roasted tomatoes.  As the ramp season is so short, you can make extra pesto and freeze it– it keeps well.  Then, when tomatoes peak later this summer, you can bring some out and really get the best of this combination.  I can’t wait!

The Recipe:  Ramp Pesto

1/2 cup toasted walnuts pieces

1 cup Italian parsley (packed, then loosely chopped)

1 bunch ramps, (white and red parts only), chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste

Begin by toasting the walnuts in a small frying pan for a couple of minutes until they become aromatic.  Stirring and being very careful not to burn them.   They don’t need to be fully toasted, just enough to bring out their nutty flavor.  Remove from pan, and set aside.

Next, in a small food processor, combine the ramps, parsley, walnuts, parmesan, red pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of salt and cracked black pepper.  Pulse the mixture for a few seconds until it is somewhat mixed.  Turn the food processor on and slowly stream the olive oil through the liquid hole on top of the lid.  When the pesto looks homogeneous, after a minute or two, turn off the machine and  adjust seasonings, if necessary.  The pesto will keep covered in the refrigerator for around 3 days.  Enjoy!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Thanks for stopping by!


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