Last Friday, we enjoyed a supper of all local food, some foraged, some farmed.
Tim’s co-worker Holly spent her lunch hour down by the river and returned to the office with a bucket full of fiddleheads and ramps. She sent a generous supply home with Tim.
These are spring delicacies, among the first the earth sends up – and their appearance is brief.
Ramps are wild onions that have become wildly popular in the trendy food world of the city, where they sell for twenty-dollars a pound. In the muddy hinterlands, they’re free for the foraging, if you know where to go – or have a generous friend.
No question, they’re delicious, with a delicate oniony flavor, and they’re simple to prepare. Washing the mud out of the leaves is the only hard part. Then I toss the whole thing – leaves and bulb – into a hot, cast iron pan with a film of olive oil and lightly char.
Fiddleheads are the top fist of a fern, yet unfurled. They take some preparation: first they must be thoroughly rinsed and their paper-like husk peeled off and then blanched in salted boiling water. You can just drain them and eat as is, or sauté them in olive oil with garlic and finish them with lemon juice. Delish.
We keep a laying flock, and there’s nothing quite so satisfying as the heft of a warm egg brought in from the hen house, nor a dish as elegant as an omelet with fresh herbs and Vermont cheddar.
MARCO POLO EXCEPTIONS
We toasted some of Tim’s homemade, whole grain bread baked earlier in the day, and dinner was nearly complete. All that was needed were a few of our Marco Polo Exceptions. All this was accompanied by Tim’s homemade bread, a household staple now baked with wheat grown and milled in the northeast, some in Vermont and some in upstate New York.
The wheat we bake with is grown and milled in the northeast, some in Vermont and some in upstate New York. But of course, not everything we eat is local, and we’re not orthodox about keeping localvore kosher, either. Frankly, we wouldn’t survive without Marco Polo exceptions: the foods from away that enhance the table, like olive oil and spices; and the foods from away that enhance our lives, like red wine, coffee and chocolate.
We eat well around here. It’s one of the benefits of living in place.