Ramps, Smoked Bacon and Arugula Salad

Ingredientswild asheville ramps

2 ounces of bacon cut into short sticks, about 1/4" x 1/4" x 1"
A healthy bunch of ramps, properly harvested*, cleaned and cut into 1" lengths
Salt
Pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 handfuls of fresh arugula
Preparation

In a heavy iron skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it renders its fat and becomes crispy. Toss in the ramps and cook for one minute. Then season with salt, pepper and brown sugar. Cook another minute. Add the vinegar, and turn off the heat. Place the arugula in a mixing bowl, toss with the ramp and bacon dressing. Serve with some corn pone or cornbread sticks. Yields four portions.

*Note: Ramps are a wild, endangered plant. You should only purchase or collect ramps if they have been sustainably harvested. This is not difficult, but you should be adamant they are collected by cutting them in such a fashion that the root "plate" and a portion of the white bulb have been cut, leaving them in the ground to re-sprout. If the ramps have the roots attached, it means they have been ripped out and will not grown next season. It takes six years for a ramp to reproduce.

Recipe and ramp hunting tips provided by Mark Rosenstein of www.theFrenchBroad.com