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Some Tasty Spring Inspired Recipes (part 1) - Baked eggs with polenta and ramps

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These light and energizing recipes, packed with fresh, seasonal finds from your local farmer’s market, are the perfect way to start your sunday (or any day for that matter).

Baked eggs with polenta and ramps

As a kid, I was fascinated by my mother’s Foxfire collection, a series of books documenting life in rural Appalachian Georgia in the 1970s. One of the most celebrated spring rituals was the gathering of ramps, a wild leek abundant in the mountainous South— and once very much the food of the rural poor. Now their popularity has made them both more readily available and often quite expensive. But they’re worth it as a weekend treat. Their unique flavor, reminiscent of garlic and leeks, is a perfect match with breakfast eggs, polenta and fresh thyme. If you can’t find ramps, try leeks or spring onions instead.

Ingredients

·         31/3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

·         2/3 cup coarse cornmeal

·         8 ounces ramps, thoroughly cleaned

·         1/3 cup grated asiago cheese

·         1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

·         ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided freshly ground black pepper to taste

·         1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

·         4 eggs

Recipe

·         Bring the broth to a boil in a pot, then reduce the heat to low. Add the cornmeal in a slow, steady stream while stirring. Continue stirring regularly as the thick cornmeal cooks. The polenta will be ready in about 35 minutes, when the liquid is absorbed and the polenta pulls away from the side of the pot.

·         Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°f. Place four 8-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet and place the sheet in the cold oven to preheat while the polenta cooks.

·         Next, dice the white and pink ends of the ramps, keeping them separate from the leafy stalks. Coarsely chop the green ends.

·         When the polenta is cooked, remove it from the heat. Stir in the asiago cheese, thyme, ½ teaspoon of the salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.

·         Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the butter and melt. add the white and pink ramp ends, stirring often. After about 2 minutes, add the greens. stir until the greens are soft and wilted, another 2–3 minutes more. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, stir and remove from the heat. remove the ramekins from the oven. Grease them generously with butter, being careful not to burn yourself. Spoon about 1/3 cup of polenta into each (you will have some left over—tuck it into a lunch with some roasted vegetables), followed by a quarter of the ramps. Return the ramekins to the oven for 5 minutes.

·         Remove the ramekins from the oven and crack 1 egg into each. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the whites have set. set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

 

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Baked eggs with polenta and ramps

 

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