Ramps, asparagus pop up for spring at Aria

April 27, 2012 12:44:21 PM PDT
Even though spring is just a few weeks old, the end of April typically signals two things to local chefs: asparagus and ramps.

Asparagus is pretty well-known, but ramps, not nearly as much.

You may recognize Beverly Kim from her appearance on the most recent "Top Chef" episodes. But the executive chef at Aria, inside the Fairmont Hotel, is planted firmly back in the kitchen these days, working on her spring menu. Ramps play a big role in it.

Aria at the Fairmont Hotel
200 N. Columbus Drive
(312) 444-9494

Pork and Ramp Dumplings

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound ramps, finely sliced
1/2 pound fatty ground pork
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tsp. dried ground shitake mushrooms
1/4 tsp white pepper

Heat vegetable oil in a large wok or skillet over high heat until smoking. Add sliced ramps and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and combine.

Wonton Wrapper, Homemade:

1 egg
1/3 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium bowl, beat the egg. Mix in the water.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Create a well in the center of the mixture and slowly pour in the egg and water. Mix well. If the mixture is too dry, increase the amount of water one teaspoon at a time until a pliable dough has formed.
3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until elastic. Cut dough into two separate balls. Cover the balls with a damp cloth for a minimum of 10 minutes.
4. Cut each ball into four equal pieces. Roll the pieces into 10 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch squares. Cut each into nine 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch squares. Use in any recipe that calls for wonton wrappers.

Ramp Kimchi

8 ounces ramps, chopped into 1" sections
1 half of carrot, julianned
2 units green garlic , whites minced, greens chopped into 1? sections
10 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/8 cup kochukaru
2 tablespoons shoyu
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon jar salted shrimp


Combine ramps, salt and sugar and refrigerate overnight.
Mix all other ingredients and add ramps. You may need to add water to thin the chili paste.
Refrigerate for 2 weeks and enjoy.

Serve over rice, sunnyside egg, and other vegetables and marinated beef, you've got bibimbop!

Asparagus, Wild Mushroom, and Ramp Stir Fry with Oyster Sauce

1 bunch of green asparagus, woody ends trimmed off, cut into 2" segments
pint of mix of wild mushrooms, such as shitake, maitake, honshemeji, and morels, destemmed, washed, and halved
4 oz. ramps, washed and cut into 2" segments
3 oz. canola oil
1 tbsp minced green garlic
1 tbsp shallots
3 oz. shaoxing rice wine (You may use sherry as a substitution)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of white pepper
2 oz vegetable stock
1 tbsp of butter

In a large sauté pan or wok, heat oil. When hot, but not smoking, add garlic and shallots, stirring constantly as to not burn the aromatics. Quickly add the Asparagus and mushrooms and stir fry for two minutes on high heat. Add oyster sauce, stir fry a bit more, then add shaoxing wine to deglaze. Add sugar, white pepper, and add the ramps to wilt. You may need some veg stock to give more moisture to steam. Finish with a tbsp. of butter to give some gloss.
Serve over rice, or like we do, with a peppercorn crusted ribeye and thick rice noodles and black vinegar demi glace