On Sunday, cherries and strawberries broke up the yearlong parade of apples at my farmers’ market; we’re at the threshold of summer. It has been a little quiet here lately, although I have a bunch of things to share waiting in the eaves. It’s probably a reflection of my state of mind, which has been a little scattered lately, to put it mildly. Or, if we’re not being mild, since we’re among friends here, then it feels like someone pressed a button that shattered my mind into hundreds of little pieces, distinct, separate, whirling about with the intensity of a washing machine’s final cycle. I keep trying to pull everything back together, to focus, but I emerge drained, limp, wrung of all energy. So I have recipes and pictures and thoughts, and I can’t seem to pull anything together. I sit at my computer repeatedly, willing, wishing. But all I get is more random thoughts and distractions, bits and pieces.
You know when you’re in the midst of something that has all of you- all of your mind, all of your heart? And it’s as if you’re powering through life, your hair blowing behind you, the sidelines blurred into a multicolored stream, adrenaline shooting right out of your fingers? And life feels so good, so delicious, you could bite right into it?
I haven’t felt this way in a long, long time. Rather, it feels like I’m on the sidelines, frazzled. Here in the sidelines, the world is doused in buckets of grey; endless, overwhelming. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of something startlingly beautiful- a photograph, a melody, an outstretched hand- that makes me want to move back into the center. The gap is so great, that I can’t seem to make the leap. I stand there, at the threshold, hesitant.
My farmers’ market is hurtling towards summer with an abundance of green. Every Sunday, I discover things I have never tasted before: rhubarb, ramps, garlic scapes, a host of greens I can’t even begin to identify. As much as I love browsing the internet for ideas, sometimes I like to wing it. When I’m feeling like this- scattered, frazzled- I like cooking without recipes, to let my mind smooth out a bit. To ease out of my mind and into my hands, giving my thoughts permission to wander.
A little while ago, I found myself with chard and ramps on my hands. The chard was bundled tightly with a pale pink rubberband, hot pink shooting from its stems and unfurling into its green leaves like veins; the ramps’ leaves were long and soft, a pop of purple making a brief appearance at their middles, their roots dangling wildly. After briefly sautéing the greens in a skillet, I nudged them around with a wooden spoon, creating shallow craters into which I cracked eggs, one after the other, their albumens turning cloudy and settling into white, the yolks like midsummer suns. Next came a bit of soft goat cheese, a few twists of salt and pepper, and a flurry of pale purple flowers. When the whites were set, but the yolks were still soft and runny, I pulled it from the heat, and we dug in with a fresh baguette.
Spring Greens Skillet
I topped this with some pale purple flowers I found at the market, but you can use pulled-apart chive blossoms, or other edible flowers, if you’d like.
1 bunch of chard
2 small bunches of ramps, green leaves only*
goat cheese, to taste
olive oil, for drizzling
salt & pepper
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Separate the chard stalks from the leaves. Blanch the stalks in the boiling water for 3 minutes; then add the leaves and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Drain, and refresh under cold running water. Squeeze the chard dry, then roughly chop it.
Heat your skillet over medium heat, and add a swirl of olive oil. Add the ramps, tossing until just slightly wilted (about a minute or two). Add the chard to the skillet, tossing to combine. With a wooden spoon, nudge the greens around to make a small crater for each egg. Now, add the eggs one at a time into their designated craters. Dot with goat cheese, drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the eggs begin to whiten, and finish briefly under the broiler- a minute should do.
Enjoy with a fresh baguette, or other crusty rustic bread.
*I used the leafy greens of the ramps only, as I wanted to pickle the bulbs (see below). For this dish, I left the leaves whole, but you could coarsely chop them if you wish.
Other ideas for ramps:
Spaghetti with Ramps// Martha Stewart
Quick Coriander Juniper Pickled Ramps// Hungry Ghost
Wild Ramp Pesto// Food52