[First, some mood music.]
I know that saying goodbye is natural. And, after many years spent acquainting myself with the seasons of the Northeast, I've learned how to say goodbye to certain foods. I accept that I will never eat asparagus in August, or tomatoes in February. In fact, I prefer it that way.
But last Saturday, when I saw Rick Bishop’s sign proclaiming the season’s “Last Ramps!” my only thought was: It’s too soon.
This tends to happen with ramps. I file them alongside stinging nettles and fiddlehead ferns as examples of spring’s cruel transience. May becomes an anxiety-ridden race to enjoy these foods to their fullest.
Clearly, I could not ignore this last gasp of springtime, particularly given its source (for most New Yorkers, Rick Bishop pretty much invented the ramp). So I bought two bouquets of ramps and pledged to use them, in some form, before the weekend’s end. Ultimately, it came down to spaghetti with ramps and bread crumbs (a perennial favorite), or roasted chicken with ramps. In the interest of Sunday comfort food, we opted for the later.
I suppose you could call this a "one-pan wonder"—a genre I tend to avoid for some reason (latent snobbery?). But in this case, the single-pan synergy of ingredients was undeniable. The potatoes and ramp bulbs absorbed the chicken juices during cooking. The timing was seamless. (We kept the potatoes and ramps in the oven while making the sauce, which left them perfectly crisp—though it did add another pan to the equation.) And the entire dish—and room—was infused with the ramps' garlicky-leeky goodness.
As a recipe post, I realize it's a bit belated. But, if nothing else, I've given you the gift of Boyz II Men.
Roasted Chicken, Ramps and Potatoes
Adapted from Epicurious
3/4 pound ramps
1 (3- to 3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound small red potatoes, halved
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Trim roots from ramps and slip off outer skin on bulbs if loose. Cut off and reserve leaves, leaving white bulbs attached to slender pink stems.
Put leaves and bulbs in separate bowls.
Pat chicken dry. Put in a flameproof large shallow roasting pan, without crowding, and surround with potatoes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and rub all over to coat evenly. Arrange chicken skin sides up and season with salt and pepper. Roast in upper third of oven 20 minutes.
Toss bulbs with remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil and season with salt. Scatter bulbs around chicken and roast mixture until breast pieces are just cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer breast pieces to a platter and keep warm. Roast remaining chicken and vegetables 5 minutes more, or until cooked through. Transfer to platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. (If crisper skin is desired, broil chicken only, skin sides up, about 2 minutes.)
Pour off fat from roasting pan and straddle pan across 2 burners. Add wine and deglaze pan by cooking over high heat, scraping up brown bits.
Boil wine until reduced to about 1/4 cup and add broth. When broth boils, add ramp leaves and stir until wilted and tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and add to chicken. Boil pan juices until reduced to about 1/2 cup and pour around chicken.