Peas and Carrots and Ramps (oh my!)

A classic pairing updated for modern palettes. photo by Nancy Duran

Late spring days can be unpredictable. One day it’s 90 degrees and sunny, the next it’s rainy and a chilly 60 degrees. During those brisk interludes, I retreat inside from my barbecue to roast a spring chicken. And the side I prefer with my chicken is a homey carrots and peas. Freshly shelled spring peas feel like an absolute luxury after many winter months of frozen peas. This simple yet stunning preparation puts the peas in the spotlight they deserve.

You may be coming across ramps at your farmers’ market these days, and if you do, I encourage you to pick some up. Their subtle sweetness provides a lovely accent to the crisp freshness of the peas and carrots in this dish. If you can’t find ramps (and they can be elusive), feel free to substitute two finely chopped small shallots. The flavor won’t be identical to ramps, but the sweetness will be achieved.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 ramps, white bulbs only sliced thinly into rounds (save leaves for another use)*
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cups carrots that have been thinly sliced into matchsticks
2 cups lightly cooked freshly shelled peas
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-low heat. Add ramps and a little salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until ramps have softened, but not colored, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and toss to coat with butter. Pour in about 1/2 cup water and turn heat to medium-high. Cook, uncovered, until carrots have softened and liquid has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add cooked peas and taste and season with a little more salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with olive oil.

* A great way to use the ramp leaves is to stuff them into the cavity and under the skin of the breast meat of a whole chicken. When you roast the chicken the sweet oniony flavor of the ramps will infuse the chicken and its gravy.

Nutritional analysis (based on 4 servings, does not include salt and pepper to taste or olive oil for serving):
Calories 146, Fat 6.2g, Sodium 52 mg, Carbohydrate 19g, Fiber 6g, Sugar 8g, Protein 5g

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