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Roast Chicken With Ramps, Fiddlehead Ferns and Fresh Salad Greens

Two of spring’s most trendy treats don’t come from the garden, but from the forest – ramps and fiddlehead ferns. Ramps are wild onions that resemble scallions but with a pink shoot. The flavor is a mix between garlic and onion with the leaves being milder than the bulb. Fiddleheads are the unfurled head of an ostrich fern. The flavor is similar to asparagus with the crunch of a green bean. Both are a bit unusual and are only available from mid-April to early June. If you can get your hands on some I suggest making this herb roasted chicken recipe given to me by Chef Anthony Devoti at Five Bistro.

Ingredients

  • 2 turnips
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 tablespoon chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • half of a chicken
  • olive oil
  • 3 strips bacon, diced
  • 4 ramps, cleaned with greens and bulbs separated
  • 1/4 cup fiddlehead ferns, washed and clipped
  • 2 small heads lettuce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Cut the turnips into 1/8-inch pieces.
  2. Whip the butter with the sage, chives and pepper. Rub the herbed butter over the chicken. Be generous.
  3. Heat a flat bottom, oven-safe saute pan with a touch of oil, just enough to cover the bottom. Lightly brown the chicken on both sides, skin side first.
  4. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan and place in a pre-heated 450 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
  5. After 15 minutes turn the chicken over and roast for another 12 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is roasting the final 12 minutes, heat a pan and lightly coat in oil. When oil is warm, add the chopped turnips. Cook while stirring until the turnips begin to warm. Add the bacon pieces and cook until the bacon fat begins to melt and the turnips are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Add the ramps and fiddleheads last and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from the pan from the heat and set aside.
  7. When the chicken is done remove from the oven and transfer to a plate to rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Deglaze the roasting pan with fresh squeezed lemon juice & a shot of water or white wine for a light, fresh jus!
  9. Layer fresh lettuce leaves on the serving plate. Toss with the roasted vegetables. Quarter the chicken and place on top. Drizzle with the jus and serve.