this spring, inexplicably, i haven’t gotten around to enjoying gathering my own share of spring’s abundance. as a self-declared “herbal witch” and a big fan of gathering – see evidence from former gathering sessions here, here, here or here – i feel so ashamed to admit i’ve never even picked one leaf this season. and i’m afraid many of the wild things are already a bit “over” by now…
in fact, the only time i’ve seen real live ramps / wild garlic (or whatever you might call this magic wild herb in your corner of the world) this year was during one (singular!) short (and admittedly painful, humiliating and exhausting) post-winter running session through the nearby woods. it was like in a fairy tale, though, the springlike forest that met us there. forest grounds and fields filled to bursting with leafy, vibrantly green wild garlic, as far as the eye could reach. and an intense, almost staggeringly garlicky scent hanging in the air. i didn’t bring a basket for collecting some of the bounty, and regretted it immensely (though imminently, i’ve had other worries, namely my lack of breath). instead, the only rare bunches of wild herbs i’ve had in my kitchen this year came from globus’ (my go-to delicatessen store). so that was rather civilized.
but i’m telling myself firmly that you can’t have or do it all, and that sometimes you’ve just got to embrace semi-perfect over ideal (this holds true for so many other aspects of my life, too, by the way). what was missing in the nostalgia department by not being able to pick my own at least wasn’t missing in taste: the acquired wild garlic was just as good as any hand picked one would ever be. plus, i’ve supported the economy.
grilled asparagus with burrata and ramps oil
1 bunch fine or normal green asparagus
1 bunch wild garlic / ramps
2 burrate balls or mozzarelle, patted dry
1/2 organic lemon, zest and juice
3 tbsp. olive oil + more for brushing
fleur de sel, pepper
directions: first, make the wild garlic oil: wash and pat dry the leaves, then chop coarsely. add the olive oil and puree with an immersion blender until the herbs are very finely pureed and the oil is of an intense green. season with lemon juice and zest, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
wash the asparagus and trim the ends. pat dry, then brush with olive oil. heat the grill or a griddle pan. place the asparagus on top and roast from each side until dark grill marks are showing and asparagus is tender but with a bite, about 2 minutes on each side. remove from the grill and cut into bite-sized slices, diagonally. arrange onto plates and season with salt an pepper. place the burrata on top of the warm asparagus and drizzle with the wild garlic oil. serve immediately.