This simple ragout is absolutely one of the best dishes I’ve made in a long time. But I can’t take much credit for it–I got some good stuff at the Greenmarket and cooked it in butter and lemon, added a poached egg, and was done. You could make this ragout with any number of other spring vegetables, like young peas, leeks, etc. I think this combo is pretty fantastic, though.
Morels are very expensive, about $40 a pound. Luckily, they’re also very light. I bought three big beautiful morels for $10. Not cheap, but not totally out of reach for a once-a-year treat.
Some people say that cleaning morels with water will dilute their flavor, but I’ve never found that to be the case. I give them a very quick (no more than 5 minutes) soak in salted cold water. Hopefully that draws out any bugs that have crawled into the mushrooms’ crevasses.
I rarely use heavy cream at home, but the amount you’re eating here is small–about what you might put in your coffee; don’t be tempted to sub half-and-half or milk–the acid in the lemon juice will cause it to break.
Morel, Ramp and Asparagus Ragout with Poached Egg
Yield: 2 servings
1 bunch ramps (about 6-7)
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped asparagus (chopped to about 1 inch, or bite-sized)
4 large morel mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 poached eggs
Separate the bulb ends of the ramps from the leaves; thinly slice the bulbs and thickly slice the leaves. Set leaves aside. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the ramp bulbs, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring. Add the asparagus, and cook about 5 minutes, until asparagus is crisp-tender. Stir in the morels, and season mixture with salt and pepper. Cook until morels are slightly soft, and have given off their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the ramp leaves, and stir. Squeeze in the lemon juice and the heavy cream. Raise heat to medium-high and allow mixture to come to a simmer; simmer briefly for about 1 minute, just until mixture is thickened slightly. Taste for salt and pepper, adding more if necessary.
To serve, portion the vegetable mixture out between two bowls. Top each with a poached egg.