Thursday, April 5, 2007

Recipe: Wild Leek Sauce for Fish

This recipe comes from the White Grass Cafe in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. The cafe is located in the beloved White Grass Ski Touring Center - a spot that Corey and I have been making a point to visit the past few Februarys. For both the memorable food and the awesome cross country skiing. This is from one of their two cookbooks that we covet for their easy but rich recipes - White Grass Flavor.

Ramps or wild leeks, as the cookbook explains, are a spring delicacy in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia. They are honored at many area festivals throughout April. Our well-worn copy of West Virginia Off the Beaten Path recommends the Ramp Cook-Off in Elkins, West Virginia as something to experience in late April. We have our own little stinkfest with this recipe. I knew it was a winner when Corey kept asking, after every mouthful, about the ingredients, the name of the recipe, etc. . . . Just use regular leeks if ramps are unavailable.

Sweet Wild Leek (Ramp) Sauce for Fish

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. butter
1 bunch fresh leeks or about 24 fresh ramps - washed and chopped
1 large sweet onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. water
1 Tbs. dry white wine
2 tsp. soy sauce
3 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. balsamic reduction*
1 pound fresh trout fillet (also great on any kind of fish or with grilled/oven roasted meat)

*Balsamic reduction - In a small skillet, heat 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Cook until reduced to a thick syrup -- be careful not to let it burn.

Heat a large skillet over low heat. Add oil and butter. Then add leeks, onions and garlic. Cook slowly for about 45 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.

When soft, turn heat up to medium-high, remove lid and cook until onions brown. Stir in water, wine and soy sauce. Remove from heat and stir in salt and pepper. Cool. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add lemon juice and balsamic reduction.

Use immediately or store in fridge up to a week. This can also be frozen and used later.

Spread over fish fillets and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 5 - 10 minutes - depending on the thickness of the fish.

This recipe was reprinted with permission of the White Grass Cafe.


Lonnie said...

Ooh, someone else in Charlottesville blogging about "Ramps"! (Not surprisingly, it is also another member of the Piedmont Garden Swap)

Where do you go to get them? I know they occur within Augusta, but they've never been reported in Albemarle. Also, have you ever tried cultivating them?

Jes said...

Thnaks for the recipes! I love to try new things.

Sounds like a wonderful place to visit!

Tracey said...

Hi Lonnie,

Ramps - fun, eh?

I actually only associate them with West Virginia and usually prepare this recipe with regular leeks over here in VA. I do, however, want to get over to WV one April for a big 'ole ramp stinkfest.
I haven't had any luck cultivating them around here. I would love to hear all about it if you do . . .

swampkris said...

"Ramps- not for ladies nor those who's courtin'em."
Can't wait to try them, now!
Have you had much luck growing your own (tame) leaks?

swampkris said...

Err, that is "leeks"

Tracey said...

Woo-hoo! Very happy to see swampkris here!
Groovy quote . . . haven't tried growing regular leeks yet. What about you-s guy-s - out east there?

Lonnie said...

I try to grow Ramps in the same conditions one might find other spring ephemerals, like squirrel corn, trout lily, spring beauty, trillium, and merry bells.

The plots so far that have had the most success are where I've taken my really acid soil (about four), and mixed in some potash from the wood stove, and some Flower Tone. Given that you have more alkaline conditions over there, you might just pick a spot where there is an abundance of other wild ephemerals, and plant them there. I saw several spots on a recent hike in Sugar Hollow that looked like they'd be good places to try.