Friday, April 3, 2009

Whole Baked Golden Trout with Wild Leek (aka RAMPS, aka Ail des dois) Stuffing

It's April! Happy spring! Aaaaand .... it's RAMP season! Or as the French call them, ail des bois. Wild Leeks. I don't have ramps at my local farmer's market here in southern California (well, not that I've seen anyway) so I get mine from Doug in Ohio -- if you want some too click here but hurry! Ramp season is only about 2 months long! Buy extra so you can make ramp butter out of the leftovers so you can enjoy it all year long.

My package arrived with a big bunch of beautiful ramps in it, and my first recipe was going to be trout with ramps. And I was originally going to make a buttery white wine ramp sauce to go over the trout. But then I got this good loaf of sourdough bread at the store, and well, I ended up making ramp stuffing instead. Ramps taste unique - and it's sort of a onionish-garlicish flavor. Not too strong, but strong enough to really add a lot of flavor. It's really a unique flavor, and there is really nothing else like it.

I cleaned up the ramps, cut the roots off and then diced them along with some white onion, a clove of garlic and a celery stalk. (I was only making stuffing for 2 people).

Saute the celery and white onion in about 2 tablespoons of butter for about 3-4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Then I diced the bread into cubes. About 2 cups worth.

Since I was only using the green parts of the ramps for this recipe (the white parts are being saved for tonight's recipe of ramp risotto!) I added them last so they wouldn't overcook. Lightly toss the ramps with the butter and cooked vegetables.

I just happened to have a huge batch of fresh chicken stock that I had made yesterday also, so I added the bread and sauteed vegetables in a bowl, then added chicken stock a little at a time until the bread was wet but not soggy.

I bought the trout fresh yesterday at the Santa Monica Seafood Market, and I had them de-bone it for me, but leave it whole for presentation.

Now -- stuff the fish! I added equal amounts of stuffing, then folded the fish over. Nothing else added, other than a drizzle of olive oil on the top, and a sprinkling of salt.

The oven was set to 450, and my rule of thumb for fish is - 10 minutes per inch of thickness in a 450 oven. It works every time. The fish, stuffing included, was just about 2 inches, so I set the timer for 20 minutes.

It came out perfect. The stuffing was buttery and moist, and the ramp flavor is like nothing else. Just delicious! The fish was tender and flaky. Served whole - It was a one dish meal. Next up: Ramp Risotto

Q: Where can I buy ramps?
A: From Doug. :) You can e-mail him at wrn453(at) and he will gladly add you to his mailing list to remind you when it is ramp season, and you can order fresh ramps from him too!