It's another vegetarian lunch brought to you by Sarah and Melissa! Unfortunately I am posting this a bit late and you probably can't get some of the ingredients anymore, sorry! There's always next year. There are a lot of delicious components in this dish - Gruyere, brown butter, delicate ramps, and the very weird but very cool fiddlehead ferns.
These guys are kinda funky looking, huh? They have a short season in Spring and taste a lot like asparagus. You need to wash them well when you get them, and it can be a little tricky to tell what is dirt and what is their little gripper feet - so I recommend soaking them in a bowl of cold water then rinsing them off one at a time. Time consuming, but worth it.
Another short season, Spring item - ramps. Most commonly found in Appalachia, these little guys are a wild onion variety that have a pronounced garlic flavor. And they are just so pretty, too!
Brown some butter (enjoy the smell!), add in the ramp bulbs, then the leaves and steamed fiddleheads. Toss it around to get that brown butter all over everything.
Then, fancy up some grits by adding butter, Gruyere, thyme, and lemon zest.
So creamy, so cheesy.
Top the grits with the sauteed veggies, and tuck in to warm, creamy, comforting heaven. Rich, yet delicate - this is some good eatin' right here.
Cheesy Brown Butter Grits with Ramps and Fiddleheads
adapted from A Thought For Food
1 cup quick cooking grits
6 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 tbsp lemon zest
leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
1/2 lb fiddleheads, rinsed
1 large bunch of ramps, rinsed
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Follow the directions on the packaging for cooking the grits. Once they are done, stir in the shredded cheese, 3 tbsp of butter, lemon zest, and the thyme. Season with a little salt and pepper
Place the fiddleheads in a large microwave-safe bowl and add in an inch of water. Cover and cook in the microwave at high heat for 4 minutes. Remove from the microwave and drain water.
Set a large pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the remaining butter to the pan and let it melt, whisking frequently. Once it starts to foam, add in the ramp bulbs (not the greens) and cook in the butter for a minute or two. At this point, the butter will begin to brown and the ramps will get some color on them. Add in the fiddleheads and the ramp greens and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Transfer the grits to plates or bowls and top with the fiddleheads and ramps. Be sure that the brown butter gets drizzled over it.