Ramsons: Those tender wild onions greens which pop up every spring for a few weeks; if you blink you may miss them. In Hungarian they are commonly known as medvehagyma, or bear onion, and have a nice taste of garlic to them. Once a rarity now they can be found quite easily at most fresh markets. They are a symbol of spring cooking — but what do you do with them? I often pass them by, glad for their symbolic welcome to spring, but never knowing how to cook with them. Well, this spring I decided I was going to find a way to enjoy this very seasonal delight. Here’s perhaps the easiest, tastiest way to enjoy ramsons: spaghetti pan-fried until golden with tender ramsons and fragrant mint.
This recipe is simple as it leans on the ramsons and their garlicy flavor to really penetrate into the pasta. I cook the ramsons together with the warming pasta, and it helps the pasta get a little golden and pan-fried, and it infuses it with the ramp flavor.
It’s barely a recipe; it does lean on your own sense of timing and feeling of when the pasta is hot and cooked through, and when the ramsons are soft and wilted. It’s a fast dish too — it just takes a few moments to sauté.
Spaghetti Pan-Fried with Ramsons & Mint
Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main
- Dried spaghetti – 250g
- Olive oil
- Fresh ramsons (medvehagyma) – 200g
- 1 small bunch mint, about 30g
- 1/4 cup dry white wine – 60ml
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to serve – 60g
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- *optional poached egg
Cook the pasta in lightly salted water until neither crunchy nor too soft . Toss with a splash of olive oil and set to the side.
Clean the ramsons and finely slice the green tops and set them aside. If without the white bulb, mostly how it is sold in Hungary, cut some white parts of a spring onion (újhagyma) into thin round slices. Finely slice the mint leaves as well, discarding the stems.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When hot, add a drizzle of olive oil and just as it begins to smoke toss in the cooked pasta. Cook over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, and looking for some browning of the pasta. After about 2 minutes, throw in the white parts of the ramsons, or spring onions, and stir frequently for another 2 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Add white wine; it will immediately bubble up and nearly evaporate. Stir in the Parmesan until completely incorporated, then add the green parts of the ramsons. Cook for 1 more minute, or until the ramsons have wilted. Add the mint and immediately turn off the heat. Stir just until the mint has begun to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with extra Parmesan and topped with a poached egg, if desired.
Did you know:
The latin name “Allium ursinum” is due to brown bear’s affinity for the bulb; often digging them out of the ground
Cows feed on a diet of Ramsons will produce a milk with a slight taste of garlic
Be careful about picking in the wild, as Ramsons also resemble the poisonous Lily of the Valley
Ramsons are very health being packed with several types of antioxidants. They are also thought to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.