Roasted Harissa Shrimp & Ramps

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spicy, cool, and pungent: these three adjectives describe each component of today's recipe. Read on if "pungent" didn't immediately turn you off.

Three days a week walking to and from work through the Union Square Greenmarket, I cannot help be inspired by fresh local food. Earlier this month, I saw ramps. I'd never eaten them, never cooked them, but knew that they're a springtime-only hybrid of onion and garlic. And they were $4 for a huge bunch. So they came home with me.

What do you do with a potent oniony garlicky vegetable? You roast it.

And then you top it with shrimp.

I thought to pair the bold ramp flavor with some heat, as well as an actual protein that can stand up to big flavors. I dolloped some beautiful shrimp with harissa. It looks like a lot, but it actually coated the shrimp very lightly - the spice was present but it wasn't overwhelming.

I roasted the ramps for about 10 minutes in a shallow dish before adding the shrimp on top for another 5 minutes or so.

To counter these huge flavors, I went with a cool, crisp, fresh salad. I took a cue from Katie and chopped up sugar snap peas and radishes.

The dressing was the juice of a lemon with some tahini mixed in. The end result was fresh and creamy and worked perfectly with the heat of the shrimp.

You can't see the end result of the ramps because they're hidden by the shrimp, but holy moly I'm hooked. They had the consistency of a roasted scallion and packed a serious flavor punch. Make sure you do not eat these on a date or before any important meetings - though delicious, I had some of the most aggressive garlic-and-onion breath of my life. The shrimp were tender with only a mild luster of spice and the salad was crunchy and creamy at the same time. This dinner involved so many flavors at once and I relished every single bite!

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