Thursday, May 1, 2014

Orange Ramp Braised Chicken

This is by far my favorite ramp dish.  It is always one of the very first that I make in the ramp season.  I also love to make some extras to store in the freezer for later in the year, when the ramps are gone.  I have not taken photos of this, despite eating it already this year.  I will snap some shots of it the next time I make it and add them for you all.

Reminder - I use all organic and local ingredients and feel strongly that this makes a difference in the flavor.  Get as many organic and local ingredients as you can, you won't be sorry.

Orange Ramp Braised Chicken

1 whole chicken, broken down into 10 pieces (though I save the wings for another use)
coarse salt
1-2 tbsp olive oil
about 20 good sized ramps, if yours are small, use more, they're delicious
3/4 cup pitted mixed olives (buy the bulk olives from oryana or burritts that are mixed with all kinds of olives)
strips of orange zest from an orange and all the orange juice from that orange (you want at least a 1/2 cup, if you don't get that much, use another orange, or short of that, add water)

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute (you can also use a dutch oven or a large nonstick skillet, but cast iron gives better flavor I think).  Season chicken with salt.  working in batches if needed, add chicken, skin side down, and brown on one side, about 9 minutes, moving chicken around while cooking if necessary, for even browning.

Turn chicken, skin side up, and add ramps, olives, orange zest strips and orange juice to skillet.  Transfer to oven and cook until chicken is cooked through, 15-20 minutes.

Take out and enjoy, making sure to eat all parts with the chicken, including the orange peel strips (they taste AMAZING).

Ramp Butter

Ramps are finally back in season.  They are one of my favorite foods.  I make everything I can think of with them.  This year I strive to make even more.  One of the first dishes was this ramp butter.  I choose to use it on bread - garlic bread style - for a side with chicken parmesan.  I made versions of the bread both with just the butter and a version with mozzarella on top, to see which we preferred.  The verdict of all three tasters was the no cheese version, though to be honest, both were amazing.  I feel it would also be stellar atop a grilled porterhouse steak, so I am hoping to try that out in the near future.

Here's the recipe.  Sorry for the lack of photos, don't know what I was thinking while eating.  Oh yeah, I was thinking, this is damn delicious, get it in my mouth.  Not, stop, take a photo.

Just a reminder - I always use all organic and as local ingredients as possible.  I do strongly feel this affects flavor.  If you make this and you don't love it to pieces, I'm sorry to tell you, you must be doing something wrong :)

Ramp Butter

1 stick softened unsalted butter
3 ramps, cleaned, minced
zest of one small lemon (if you use too much lemon, it will completely overpower the ramps)
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/8 tsp ground multipeppercorn mix (I used a 5 blend)

Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  If not using right away, can be saved in plastic wrap and rolled into a log. 

I however, immediately made it into toasted bread for our chicken parmesan.

Roasted Ramp Butter Bread

Loaf of sourdough bread (I use stonehouse)
Ramp butter
Lots of shredded mozzarella if you want

Lay out the slices of bread onto a cookie sheet.  Smother each with a good amount of the butter.  If you want to make cheesey ones, put a mound of cheese on each - however, our tasters preferred sans cheese.  Place sheet into a preheated 425F oven.  Bake for 6-7 minutes or until just starting to crisp.  Take out and enjoy the delicious.