Ramps Peek(ing) Up

I chose the title because my good friend Steve Peek loves them so much. I went to Asheville recently and had a great visit with him. Here’s the picture I took yesterday of a Ramps2016patch Steve and I know well. We don’t dig it, because of where it is, but we love how beautiful it is when April comes, and we always admire it. Notice my small knife for scale.

Even though my Bloodroot hasn’t put up a leaf yet, Spring is just around the corner, If we get the five straight 70 degree days, who knows what we will see.

Brined Mushrooms


Many folks say, “brush only, never wash” your ‘shrooms. Although I always wash my chanterelles, soak my morels in salt water, and  wash lobster and other hardy mushrooms (such as chicken of the woods), I have refrained from washing the gilled mushrooms. That is, until I read about brining shiitake and crimini mushrooms in the Jan-Feb 2015 Cooks Illustrated issue. Below is a recipe that went Brine3along with the article. Here is my variation that works great!

Brine the Mushrooms:

Place shiitake mushrooms in zip lock bag with water and kosher salt ( 5 tsp salt per Quart t water) and let sit for 1 hour.

Roasted Shiitake with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

Salt & Pepper
Shiitakes (leave stems on)
2 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 tsp lemon juice
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I roast stove-top in a sauté pan with oil)
2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Drain mushrooms and blot dry. Spread mushrooms on heavy baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Roast about 35-40 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and toss the mushrooms. Return and roast about 10 more minutes until browned. Remove and cut stems off mushroom (use scissors ’cause the shrooms are HOT and oiled)

Combine melted butter and lemon juice in large bowl. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Add Parmesan, pine nuts and parsley. Toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: I roast with the stems still on so air moves easily around the caps. Freeze the stems and use them when making stock.

Base Recipe from: Cook’s Illustrated,  Jan-Feb, 2015