Did you know that ramps are an endangered plant? That there's only one natural habitat in all of Rhode Island? That the location of that habitat is a closely-guarded secret? And that I know someone who knows where it is? I didn't know any of that until last week, when my husband Ted went out for a bike ride, fell in with a friend who lives up the road, and returned home with a bag of ramps, roots and dirt attached. Right away I thought of these grilled beef teriyaki skewers, substituting ramps for the more traditional scallions. My panini press cooked the beef in less than two minutes; you also could use a stove top grill pan or cast iron skillet, any pan that gets hot enough to create a nice sear on the meat. Because we don't like raw onions, I grilled the ramps first, then rolled the marinated beef around them and grilled the meat. Before I began cooking, Ted and I took half of the ramps and stuck them into our garden. If they take, I'll let you know -- but you'll have to keep it a secret.
Grilled beef teriyaki skewers with ramps (or scallions)
For the marinade:
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp mirin
1/2 lb flank steak, very thinly sliced across the grain
20 ramps, stems only, cut into 2-inch lengths (or scallions, green and white parts); save the leaves for garnish
For the teriyaki basting sauce:
2 Tbsp agave nectar
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sake
First, put 20 small skewers or long toothpicks in a bowl of water, to soak.
In a small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Thinly slice the flank steak, across the grain, and marinate the slices in the marinade for 20 minutes at room temperature. (To make it easier to slice the meat, you can freeze it for 30 minutes.)
While the meat is marinating, pre-heat your grill pan or panini press. Trim the ramps or scallions into two-inch lengths. When your pan or press is hot, grill the ramps for 1 minute or until lightly charred. Remove, and set aside.
In a small, straight-sided sauté pan, heat the teriyaki basting sauce ingredients over low heat, for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the ingredients come together. Remove from heat, and set aside.
To assemble, remove strips of beef from the marinade. Place a piece of ramp (or scallion) across one end, and roll up the meat. Stick a skewer through, to keep the roll together. Repeat until all are assembled.
Place as many rolls as will fit in your panini press or grill pan. Brush each with the basting sauce. Close the press, or cook on a grill pan for 1 minute. Turn the skewers over, and brush the second side with basting sauce. Close the press, or cook in the pan for 1 minute more.
Remove, and repeat until all are cooked. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Miso-marinated grilled salmon, from Andrea Meyers
Teriyaki chicken wings, from White on Rice Couple
Low-sugar (or sugar-free) teriyaki chicken, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Soy sesame salmon tartare with avocado, from Jeanette's Healthy Living
Spicy beef in dark soy sauce, from My Kitchen Snippets
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