Getting Outside Saturday: Spring Goodies

categories: Cocktail Hour / Getting Outside


It's spring in Maine, and here come the ramps.


Favorite things.  A sunny spring morning, a walk in the woods, a few things to eat (nothing the settlers wouldn’t have had, and much that the Abenaki before them would have had, too).  I bring a trowel, tease a handful of ramps from the rich soil near a basswood tree –these wild leeks smell sweetly of mild garlic, milder onion, leeks, sure, something of a shallot.  Home, you chop them–the bulbs minced fine-ish, the leaves more course.  A little butter in the crepe pan–no a lot butter, and throw the bulb bits in–quickly, they caramelize.  The leaves go in next, light and full.  Very quickly in the heat and butter they go limp, cooking down the way, say, spinach does–a handful shrinks to a big bite.  You could eat them now–they’re that delicate, and very fragrant, a treat.  But I’ve got eggs from the hen-house and the yolks are rich from insect feeding (more spring gifts) and I beat three and drop them in the pan with salt and in seconds my ramp omelette is ready, killer.  For dinner, ramps braised in wine and butter, maybe with pasta and a salad of winter lettuce and odd mustards from the coldframe, also trout lily leaves (everywhere in the woods right now) and ostrich-fern fiddleheads cooked soft in butter then cooled–almost like asparagus, of which I’ve got exactly one spear from the edge of the garden, harbinger of the weeks to come.


Trout lily--leaves leaping spotted from the forest floor, diving back in only weeks.


Fiddleheads of the ostrich fern, the kind you want to eat! (foto Leslie Steele)



  1. Dave writes:

    Thanks for the virtual meal. Wish I were there. The photos are fantastic.

    • Susan Pearsall writes:

      Have you ever cooked garlic mustard? It’s supposed to be edible, and it’s all over northwestern CT this spring. I’m not sure if the white flowers should be discarded or not.