I've been on the road a lot recently. Well, not just the road, in the air as well. It makes writing a bit challenging, so I usually get most of my posts down on my iPhone. Whenever I mention this to people, they always shake their heads... they can't imagine typing that much with their thumbs. I find it freeing though. Grammar and spelling become less important and I'm able to focus on my thoughts. I'm not a natural writer and often struggle to find the words to convey what I'm feeling. But this little keyboard allows me to get it out without over-thinking it.
As I mentioned, I've been traveling a lot these last few weeks. It started at the end of April with a whirlwind trip out to Los Angeles by way of New Jersey. After a long weekend out west for the Big Traveling Potluck, I returned to my parents house to help out as my mom recovered from an operation. It was nice to be there... to be with my family and the daily routine of things, even though it was obviously a very hard time for my mother.
When I returned to Boston, things didn't slow down. I've been fortunate enough to work on some great projects that have kept me pretty busy. There were a few slow days this last week where I got to create some recipes that have been stewing in my brain for a bit. One was this bowl of grits topped with two of my favorite seasonal ingredients: fiddlehead ferns and ramps. I kept the dish fairly rustic. My goal was to create a comforting dinner for a rainy spring night that would stick to your ribs a little. With a bit of brown butter and cheese mixed into the grits, I would call this one a huge success.
Now my thumbs are tired. I'm going to give them a little rest.
Cheese Grits with Fiddleheads and Ramps in Brown Butter
Yields: 4 servings
1 cup quick cooking grits
6 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon lemon zest
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 and 3 tablespoons of butter lemon zest, and the leaves from the thyme sprigs. 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 fiddleheads and ramps. Be sure to get as much of the butter on top of the dish.