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Ramp, Bacon & Ricotta Tart

April 23, 2009

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Ever since discovering that patch of ramps on our land last weekend, I’ve been trying to think of different ways to use them. I’ve been throwing a few into dishes we’ve had all week; sauteed with greens in place of garlic, they’re terrific. Paired with eggs, they are fabulous. But the mother of all combinations, for me at least, has got to be any kind of pork product paired with these skinny, stinky (no, not stinky: delightfully aromatic!) little buggers. I was craving bacon and ramps in a pairing, had some terrific Piggery bacon to use, and came up with the idea for this tart.

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And because I was in the middle of quite a few things when I made it (we are in the process of starting the house building adventure, which means there are always lots of things to be done every day!), I tried to streamline the prep process slightly. The crust comes together easily in the food processor, and you can either pre-bake the shell in a tart pan as I did, or you could do a free-form galette, rolling the dough out, spooning the filling into the middle, and folding the edges back over part of the filling. That might be a nice rustic look.

I use dried beans to weigh down the shell while pre-baking it (kidney beans, actually, since they’re my least favorite. ugh.)

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The Piggery’s bacon is awesome: deliciously meaty and marbled with fat

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I used one pan to first cook the bacon, then I used some of the leftover bacon fat to saute the spinach and shallots that would go into the ricotta filling. Into the food processor the bacon-fat-sauteed spinach and shallots went, along with some creamy ricotta and an egg. The ramps were then quickly wilted in the same pan, with a little bit of leftover bacon fat.

ready to whirl in the egg

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wilt the ramps in the same pan you cooked the bacon in – yum

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ready to go in the oven

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The ricotta mixture formed the base of the tart, and I crumbled the bacon and layered the wilted ramps on top…and look how prettily it emerged:

et voila!

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It tasted pretty darn fantastic, too. I think this would be a great brunch, lunch, or picnic dish — though we happily ate big slices of it for dinner one night this week along with a salad of dark, leafy greens, roasted beets, goat cheese and pepitas. The essence of bacon you get throughout the tart — not overpowering at all, just enough to give a little depth of flavor and smokiness — is, in my mind, out of this world and a perfect partner to the ramps. They’ll only be around for a few more weeks, so cook ‘em if you can get ‘em!

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Oh, one last thing — I’m on Twitter now! You can follow me here, or by clicking the cute little button with the bluebird on the upper right of the blog.

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Ramp, Bacon & Ricotta Tart

an Eggs on Sunday original

view printable recipe

If you don’t feel like using a tart pan, you could make this as a free form tart (galette). Skip the step for prebaking the tart shell, and instead, spread the filling in the center of the rolled out round of dough, leaving a 3 inch border of dough around the filling, then fold that border back up and over the filling.

Ingredients
For the tart crust:
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed

For the tart filling:
4 slices of good quality bacon
1 large shallot, sliced
3 cups (packed) spinach
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1 large egg
salt and pepper, to taste
about 18 ramps, cleaned and bulb ends trimmed

Directions

In a food processor, combine the flours and salt and pulse to combine. Add the pieces of cold unsalted butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the 3 tablespoons ice water, then pulse in 1 second bursts until the mixture resembles curds and clumps (you can add a little more water if needed.) Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface, gather it together in a ball, flatten into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

To pre-bake the tart shell, roll it out and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan, trimming off any excess (you can save the excess dough to patch any tears that might appear in the dough.) Prick the bottom of the shell with a fork all over, then lay a piece of foil into the shell and fill the foil with dried beans (they’ll act as weights to keep the shell from puffing up in the oven.) Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and bake for an additional 7 minutes or so, until the dough loses it’s glossiness and turns ever so slightly golden brown around the edges. Remove the shell from the oven, keeping it in the pan, and cool on a rack.

When you’re ready to assemble the tart, cook the bacon in a large, heavy saute pan until browned and crisp. Remove to a cooling rack to drain off any excess fat. Pour off the bacon fat (save it to cook other things with!) until there’s about a tablespoon left in the pan. Return the pan to medium high heat and saute the sliced shallots until softened, then add the spinach and cook the mixture just until wilted.

Transfer the spinach/shallot mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the ricotta cheese, egg, and a generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper (I found it didn’t need much additional salt since the bacon is kind of salty.) Puree the mixture until the spinach is chopped, and set aside.

In the same pan you used to cook the bacon and spinach, add the whole ramps and a little bit of water. Cook just until the ramp greens have wilted, and set aside.

Transfer the ricotta/spinach mixture into the tart shell. Top with the crumbled bacon slices, then arrange the wilted ramps over the top. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet, and bake for about 35-45 minutes in a 375 degree F oven, until the top is just starting to turn brown, the filling is slightly puffed and set, and the crust is golden brown.

Serves 4 generously.

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2009 5:56 pm

    Hi,

    I would like to include your recipe in our “Grow Your Own” roundup this month! For information on how to enter, please go to

    http://chezannies.blogspot.com/2009/04/hosting-april-2009-grow-your-own.html

    Aloha, Nate

  2. Jenn permalink
    April 23, 2009 9:19 pm

    I just collected some ramps today! Your tart looks beautiful.

  3. Victoria permalink
    April 23, 2009 9:23 pm

    Gorgeous! I may try the rustic look, as I still lack a tart pan.
    http://theidleloaf.wordpress.com

  4. April 23, 2009 9:24 pm

    Oh Amy. The title and picture alone were enough for my jaw to drop. You have really outdone yourself with this combination and I salute you. I am desperately trying to find some ramps while I still can and this just inspires me further. BEAUTIFUL.

  5. April 23, 2009 9:53 pm

    i just tried some of my ramps in eggs, it was great! next up is the pasta dish from your last post :)

  6. Betsy permalink
    April 23, 2009 9:57 pm

    This looks delicious, and I love the way you arranged the ramps!

  7. April 24, 2009 12:20 am

    WOW! This tart looks amazing. I love every single ingredient that you’ve used. Especially that Piggy bacon. It looks fabulous, and I can only imagine what wonderful flavor it added. Delicious!

  8. April 24, 2009 2:18 am

    That is a lovely looking tart!

  9. April 24, 2009 5:41 am

    This looks lovely, I was walking home the other day and caught a neighbor with a whole bag of ramps – I need to go explore a bit to find the stash!

  10. April 24, 2009 8:32 am

    Wow, Amy! That is absolutely stunning. And your ramp patch! You lucky duck. Glad to hear that you’re making such good use of it.

    I’m crossing my fingers for ramps this weekend, but if I don’t find them, I think I still need to try this tart crust recipe—looks fantastic.

    Happy Friday!

  11. April 24, 2009 12:37 pm

    This looks luscious – for breakfast, lunch or dinner – and while they are not wild around my home, they should be at Farmer’s Market – which just (yay!) opened! Great recipe and photos.

  12. April 24, 2009 6:03 pm

    Wonderful pictures! Wow. I need to find some ramps. Maybe they will hit GreenCity Market tomrrow.

  13. April 25, 2009 9:17 am

    Oh my gosh! Gorgeous tart. I’ve been wanting to do something with ramps and morels together. Pasta maybe, or perhaps a tart!

  14. April 25, 2009 11:02 am

    That looks delicious! I tried buying ramps at the farmers’ market this morning, but they were going for about $1 a ramp…too much, sadly. Guess I have to stick to onions – like this tart, which I made back in January: http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2009/01/potluck-parties-pack-pie-and-do-it.html

  15. April 27, 2009 4:31 pm

    My Goodness that looks amazing!
    And great photography!

  16. April 27, 2009 7:10 pm

    Ramps! Bacon! Ricotta!

    You have a patch of ramps on your land? You are so lucky. I would go into a frenzy if I found ramps on my land. That tart looks divine.

  17. April 27, 2009 8:20 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful use for ramps–lucky you, to have them on your land. Since their season is sadly short, have you thought about pickling a bunch of them to be able to use on into the summer?

  18. April 28, 2009 7:06 am

    This is gorgeous! Love ramps, though I have to buy them at the market for three dollars a bunch…

  19. April 28, 2009 9:39 am

    That looks so amazing!! I’ve never been so excited about ramps before – going to find them STAT! :)

  20. karen permalink
    April 28, 2009 8:55 pm

    Hi Amy, I just stumbled on your site searching for the Ithaca Farmer’s Market (I’m an IC student!). I love your organic cooking and yummy recipes and beautiful photos.

    keep it up! I have to say, I’ve never used Ramps or Leeks before but will definitely give them a try– I think it’s just the intimidation of having DIRT in them. If you have any tips on chopping and cleaning, please give me an email!

  21. April 29, 2009 8:26 am

    Nate – thanks!

    Jenn, Victoria – thank you!

    Melissa – aw, thanks! Hope you were able to find some.

    ttfn300 – ramps and eggs are terrific together, aren’t they? So glad you liked the pasta! :)

    Betsy – thanks :)

    Elyse – yes, the bacon really pushed it over the top. Delicious. :)

    Sylvie – thanks!

    Sue Bette – ooh! Were you able to find the patch? Hope so!

    Kristin – thanks; hope you were able to find some!

    Claudia, Whitney, Lori – thank you thank you! :)

    Cara – $1/ramp seems excessive…ours go for about $3/bunch.

    Melissa, Rebekkah – thanks!

    onlinepastrychef – that’s an excellent idea! I might have to try that before they’re out for the season.

    maggie – that’s what I was doing, too…

    KT – good luck!

    karen – thanks for your nice message! Glad you like the blog. With ramps, you can cut off the end of the bulb (with the roots) and slide the top layer of skin off the stem with your fingers…doing that under cold running water usually works well to get the dirt off. For leeks, I like to slice them in half and also run them under cold water (or soak them in a bowl of water), making sure I’m getting in between the layers with my fingers and letting the water wash the dirt away.

  22. April 29, 2009 12:06 pm

    Beautiful tart, and beautiful site! Found you through the food blog search and will be back often. I’ve got two bunches of ramps in the fridge and am thinking that something along these lines is in our dinner plans tonight.

  23. May 9, 2009 4:16 am

    I had to look up what ramp was and Wikipedia said it’s wild leeks. Ooooh, I’d like to try them and if they’re in a tart, even better!

  24. May 9, 2009 8:40 pm

    Ramps sauteed in bacon fat, oh my. Your quiche is lovely. Thanks for joining us for Grow Your Own in April!

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