Chef Rick Bayless Ramps Up for Spring

Chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless stops by to share some delicious springtime dishes. View a behind-the-scenes slideshow.


Here's a recipe by Bayless for guacamole with bacon, grilled ramps and roasted tomatillo.

Guacamole with Bacon, Grilled Ramps (or Green Onions) and Roasted Tomatillo

Yield: about 3 cups    

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium (about 8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, washed and cut in half crosswise
  • 4 fresh ramps (spring wild leeks) or large green onions (Or a 1-inch diameter bunch of garlic chives)
  • A little olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 large fresh serrano or 1 small fresh jalapeño, stemmed
  • 4 thick slices (about 4 ounces) bacon
  • 3 ripe, medium-large avocados
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • About 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
  • Salt

Heat a gas grill to medium, or light a charcoal grill and let it burn until the coals are medium hot and covered with gray ash. Lay the halved tomatillos (cut-side down) on a rimmed baking sheet or metal baking pan and slide onto the grill. Brush the ramps (or green onions or garlic chives) with oil. Lay them directly on the grill, along with the chile. Grill the ramps (or their stand-ins) and the chile until soft and richly browned, turning occasionally—the ramps will take 4 or 5 minutes, the chile about 10. Cook the tomatillos about 3 to 4 minutes, until soft and browned on one side, then flip them over and cook the other side. Cool everything. Finely chop the ramps (etc.) and chile then scrape into a large bowl. Chop the tomatillo into small pieces, scrape them in with the ramps, then scrape in any juice that remains on the baking sheet. 

While the grilled vegetables are cooling, cook the bacon in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat, turning every once in a while, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels, then chop into small pieces. 

Mash the avocado flesh with the tomatillo mixture: Cut the avocados in half, running a knife around the pit from top to bottom and back up again. Twist the halves in opposite directions to release the pit from one side. Scoop out the pit, then scoop the flesh from each half. With an old-fashioned potato masher, large fork or back of a large spoon, coarsely mash the avocado with the tomatillo mixture.

Stir in the lime, cilantro and half of the bacon. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1  teaspoon. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate until ready to serve. When that time comes, scrape the guacamole into a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Garnish with cilantro leaves, if desired. 

Here's a recipe by Bayless for black currant-rhubarb margarita.

Black Currant-Rhubarb Margarita (Spring)

BARTENDER’S RECIPE

Yield: 1 cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces 100% blue agave blanco tequila (page 000)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Torres Orange or other brandy-based orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce Rhubarb Puree (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 ounce crème de cassis (black currant liqueur— Jules Theuriet brand is typically used by Bayless)
  • 6 to 10 small ice cubes (about 3/4 cup)

In a cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, orange liqueur, rhubarb puree, crème de cassis and ice. Cover and shake vigorously until frothy and cold; tiny ice crystals will appear in the drink after about 15 seconds of shaking. Strain into a 6-ounce martini glass and serve immediately.

Rhubarb Puree

  • 3 large stalks (about 12-14 ounces) fresh rhubarb
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Trim the ends from the rhubarb stalks and discard. Chop the trimmed rhubarb into 1/2-inch pieces (you will have about 2 1/4cups).  In a small (2-quart) saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat until the rhubarb is so tender that it’s beginning to fall apart, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool to tepid, then scrape into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. (A handheld immersion blender can be used as an alternative to puree the rhubarb directly in the saucepan.) Scrape into a sealable container (strain if there are unblended bits) and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 5 days.

~Rhyan Kronzer contributed to this report