If you like grilling, bacon and ramps (not in any particular order), then this recipe is aimed squarely at you.
This unusual relish was adapted from a recipe by famed New Orleans chef & showman, Emeril Lagasse. We’ve made a few changes to the original preparation, but let’s give credit where it’s due. Think what you like about Emeril (and his signature “bam!”), but the man has some serious chef chops and his dishes are not only imaginative, they’re also based on solid cooking techniques.
This wildly flavorful ramp relish could be used as a condiment with just about anything, from brats to burgers, but we’ve paired it here with an all-American classic, a flame-grilled frankfurter. Some beautiful locally made all-natural frankfurters found at our local deli made the perfect vehicle for this mouthwatering relish.
Laying the ramp leaves out on a separate grilling rack makes this relish both quick & easy to prepare. (Hint: you don’t need a special grilling rack – just use a clean metal cake rack.) They only need to cook for 30 seconds, and trying to put them on the grill (and take them off) one by one is a potential disaster in the making.
Once you’ve cooked the bacon and grilled the ramp leaves, the rest is just chopping and tossing the ingredients together. Allow them to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow all of the wonderful flavors to mingle. That should be just enough time to grill those dogs and get ’em nestled in their buns.
Grilled Ramp Relish (adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse)
Chop the bacon, grilled ramp leaves and roasted red peppers into pieces roughly 1/4 inch in size. The consistent size will give a pleasing texture to the finished relish.
Makes 4-8 portions
- 4-6 fresh ramps, green parts only, washed and left whole
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp roasted red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (we used roasted Piquillo peppers from a jar)
- 3 rashers hardwood smoked bacon
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook the bacon until crisp; remove from the pan, drain well and cool. Chop coarsely and set aside.
Preheat the grill.
Toss the ramp greens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay out the ramp leaves on small grilling grates. The grilling grates make it easy to quickly place the ramp leaves on the grill and to remove them; it also helps to keep them from sticking or falling through the gaps. When the grill is hot, grill the ramp leaves lightly for 30 seconds. Chop the grilled ramp greens coarsely and set aside.
Place all of the chopped ingredients in a bowl along with the vinegar and remaining olive oil. Toss to mix well and season to taste with salt & pepper.
Add liberally to all of your spring & summer favorites!
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