• Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
  • Matcha Whoopie Pies with Sakura Buttercream Filling
  • Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
  • Mushroom Chicken Pie
  • Pistachio Wasabi Beets
  • Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches
  • Lemony Pea and Radish Salad with Mint
  • The Fort Greene
  • East African Sweet Pea Soup
  • Lazy, Rustic, Haphazard, and Amazing Sour Cherry Pies
  • Malaysian Chicken Satay
  • The Wildman’s iPhone App
  • Welsh Cakes with Dried Apricots and Candied Ginger
  • Farmhouse Pork with Black Beans and Green Peppers (and Trotter Gear)
  • Black Pepper Tofu with Pork
  • Peposo
  • Toasted Hazelnut Chai
  • Kentucky Coffee Spread
  • Banana Guacamole
  • Spicy Shrimp with Wine Rice
  • Double Ginger Chocolate Chunk Scones
  • Artichoke and Blood Orange Salad (with frisee, parsley, and cardamom)
  • Chevre Truffles
  • Clementine Sassafras Ice Cream
  • Jack is Closed (but you can vote for our pie on Sunday)
  • Our Wedding
  • Pecan Mole
  • Son-in-Law Eggs
  • Saffron Turmeric Cake with Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Argan Oil Whipped Cream, Almond Brittle, and Thyme
  • My Triumphant Return, with a Book Giveaway!

« | Main | »

Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura

Everyone knows that ramps and bacon go well together. Everyone who knows about ramps, that is – and if you don’t, get down to the Union Square greenmarket or the Park Slope Food Co-op (if you live in NYC) or wherever your local source may be sometime in the next week or so before they disappear for the year!

Ramps are wild leeks, the incredibly pungent and delicious greens that appear for just a few weeks each spring. Even Wildman Steve Brill says that ramps are “simply the best-tasting member of the entire onion family, wild or commercial.” If he could take me on a foraging hike for them, I’d adore him even more than I already do.

The only cost (besides $3/bunch (at the greenmarket, at least)) is the stench aroma. People who live near the mountains, where ramps are ubiquitous enough for there to be whole festivals dedicated to them, always seem surprised that us city dwellers see these stinky weeds as a gourmet delicacy. (Of course, they see them as worthy of festivals and getting kicked out of the house for the smell. There’s no arguing about it; ramps are delicious.)

Here’s a somewhat unusual ramp recipe for you, using the traditional pairing of ramps and bacon along with homemade udon, and taking advantage of that gorgeous local asparagus you can find this time of year as well.

As for the udon, well – when we served it at the restaurant, one diner told our waitress that it was the best udon he’s ever tasted in his life. Give it a try yourself!

2007: Banana Rum Ketchup
2006: Ramp Butter

Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura
Bacon consommé (recipe below)
Udon (recipe below)
Asparagus tempura (recipe below)
Safflower oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Start making the bacon consommé (recipe below) at least a week in advance. Start making the udon (recipe below) about 4 hours in advance. Make tempura batter about 1/2 hour in advance. You can even saute the ramps in advance, if you like.

Clean the ramps and cut off and discard the root ends. Cut each ramp into three sections by first cutting the leaves from the stems/bulbs, then cutting the stems/bulbs in half.

Saute in a bit of safflower oil, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Mix with udon in a bowl. Pour bacon consommé over the udon and ramps. Serve with asparagus tempura.

Bacon Consommé
1 lb bacon
3 quarts or so of water

In a large pot, fry the bacon until delicious. Add the water and simmer for an hour or so. If the flavor isn’t sufficiently infused at that point, blend the bacon and water together.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Reduce the resulting liquid to taste.

Measure the weight of the liquid you end up with, and measure out .7% gelatin by weight. Take a cup of the liquid and set it aside to cool a bit, then stir in the gelatin. Stir back into the rest of the liquid.

Put the liquid in a ziplock bag and freeze.

Once it is frozen, set it up in your fridge in a cheesecloth-lined strainer set over a bowl. As the block melts, bacon consommé will drip through the cheesecloth into the bowl below. The gelatin that remains acts as a strainer so that the dripping liquid is perfectly clear.

You can make this in advance and freeze it until it is needed.

(recipe from Cook & Eat)
1 C lukewarm water
5 tsp salt
3 1/2 C bread flour
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour

Dissolve the salt in about 1 tbsp of the water, then add the rest of the water. Set aside.

In your Kitchenaid, combine the two flours and salt. Pour in the water. With the dough hook attachment, knead on the lowest speed until it is combined and ceases to adhere to the hook. If it stays as too ragged, sprinkle in a bit more water.

Once it ceases to adhere to the hook, remove the dough from the Kitchenaid and continue to knead by hand as hard as you can for about 10 minutes on a floured surface. If it’s too sticky, you can add in a bit more bread flour. (This is highly unlikely.)

The dough is incredibly stiff and hard to knead, so after about 10 minutes, just give up! Wrap the dough in a very sturdy plastic bag – or, better yet, several layers of sturdy plastic bags. On top of the plastic bag layer(s), wrap a large kitchen towel. Put the wrapped dough on the ground and stand on it.

Knead the dough with your feet by walking back and forth across on it for a minute or so.

Then unwrap the dough, give it a double fold, put it back in the bag, wrap it back in the towel and walk on it some more. Repeat this process about 4 times. Then, leaving the dough in the bag, let it rest for 3 hours in a warm place.

After 3 hours have passed, take the dough out and form it into a ball. Wrap it back up and walk on it one more time, trying to spread the dough out as much as possible with your feet.

Unwrap the dough and roll it out on a floured surface until it is a square about 1/8 inch thick. This is tough, but you can do it. If necessary, Cook & Eat suggests cutting the dough into 4 pieces and run it through the thickest setting of a pasta machine, giving them a good dusting of flour, but we didn’t actually try that ourselves.

Once the dough is rolled out thin enough, fold it in half, and then in half again. Then, with one of the long edges facing you, slice the dough in 1/8 inch wide pieces. Dust the sliced pieces with a bit more flour as you go to prevent them from sticking.

Boil the noodles immediately, or cover with a towel while you are waiting for the water to come to a boil. The noodles will need to boil for about 7 minutes, stirred with a chopstick to prevent them form sticking together.

Asparagus Tempura
for the batter
1/2 C ice water
1/2 C vodka
1 1/8 C all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
for the asparagus and the frying
Oil for frying (peanut, safflower, or corn oil, ideally)

Stir the batter ingredients together with a fork. Don’t spend too long on this, and leave the batter slightly lumpy. Stick it in the fridge to chill until cold, at least half an hour or so.

Clean and dry your asparagus, cutting off the woody ends. (I like to snap them off, then trim the ragged end nicely for serving.)

Heat up enough oil for deep-frying to 425 F.

Dip the asparagus in the tempura batter, one stalk at a time. With your fingers, scrape off any excess batter, such that the asparagus is only lightly covered. Fry just a few stalks at a time, such that the oil never goes below 375 F.

Deep-fry the asparagus until golden brown. This should happen very quickly, so don’t walk away! Then remove the tempura with a slotted spoon and set it on a rack or paper towel covered plate to drain.

Wait for the oil to come back up to 425 F before adding in the next batch each time.

Serve immediately.

Post a comment

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura”

  1. Tartelette says:

    I can’t find ramps here but I trust you that the dish is wonderful! Mom said she’d mail me some, ahhahah!! Believe it or not, they are sold on ebay :)
    The tempura takes everything to a great crunchy dimension. Well done!

  2. mireille says:

    It looks delicious! I quite like rustic-looking pasta. I am convinced homemade pasta and noodles are out of this world, after I learned to make some. This dish reminds me of my favorite dish, where tempura is placed on top of the noodles. Tempura can also be placed on rice, and drizzled with sauce, this is called Tendon.

  3. Helen says:

    Ahhhhhh, we cannot get ramps here – so frustrating! Loving the novel use of asparagus though, I’m always looking for new ways to eat it as I’ve rabbited on about in my latest post. I hadn’t thought of this though, your posts are always inspiring Danielle.

  4. John says:

    What kind of bacon do you use?

  5. brilynn says:

    Wow, that is quite the process to make udon noodles, but they look awesome!
    When I’m at my parents house we can pick ramps not too far from my house, they’re great!

  6. dhanggit says:

    when i was still based in tokyo, i would eat a bowl of udon per week..i really love it!! and your photos are gorgeous :-)

  7. Sunny says:

    Hey! Love your page. Would really love your feedback on mine – http://www.sunnylandsydney.blogspot.com
    Any suggestions on how i can get more readers? your page and recipes always amaze me and i LOVE your food pics!


  8. Gabi says:

    Oh…. my… yes- Oh yes!
    Ramp-ant adoration here ;)

  9. mr.ed says:

    If’n you cain’t find ramps, yer Asian grocery might have chive flowers. Give them’n a try. Baking bacon at 300 on a rack over a baking pan is the easiest, least messy method. It produces an evenly cooked, brown, crispy result, and is slow enough to avoid burning.
    We’re lucky here, near the Appalachians to get ramps. They arrive just in time for outdoor cooking. No matter what they smell like, they’re way better than kimchi. Or chitterlings.

  10. ramps and bacon are wonderful–we just did ramp gnocchi and bacon (amongst other ramp stuff.)

  11. Francesco says:

    I love Udons ….. I wish I could find them here!
    Nice dish … even better photography. Ciao

  12. Ngoc says:

    I’m so glad the weather got cold again so I could make a VERY simplified version of this soup. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  13. katie says:

    The whole dish looks and sounds wonderful…. but my brain (and stomach) fixated on the asparagus tempura…. Wow!

  14. robin says:

    Great crisp on the tempura. The flavors in this dish sound perfectly paired.

  15. [...] Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura from Habeas Brulée [...]

  16. [...] Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura from Habeas Brulée [...]

Leave a Reply

May 2008
« Apr   Jun »