Ramp yourself up for ramp season because these relatives of wild leeks—they resemble a cross between svelte scallions and lilies of the valley—arefinally showing up in farmers’ markets on the East Coast. The chilly spring kept them understandably huddled below ground longer than normal.
If youve never tried ramps, do yourself a favor and buy a bunch. The whole plant is edible, and it packs a powerful punch of flavor thats more like fresh garlic. The best way to enjoy them is in simple preparations: They love eggs, pasta, potatoes, and even a roasting in the oven by themselves. You can’t lose with these five easy recipes from a blog post I wrote for the late Gourmet Live. Be sure to wash the ramps well first, trim the roots, and slip off any loose membranes.
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Ramp Lovin Eggs: Chop a handful of whole ramps (bulb and leaves) and cook them in butter before adding eggs and scrambling. A little cream cheese with the eggs is even better. Feast!
Ramp Champ: Its what the Irish would call it if they were lucky enough to have ramps for their mash. Make your favorite mashed potato recipe, but instead of melting the butter with the milk, cook a fistful of thinly sliced whole ramps in the butter, then add the milk and heat it. Mash your drained spuds with the milky ramp goodness and season. Smile contently.
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Ramped-Up Spaghetti: Briefly blanch a large bunch of ramps in your pasta pot of well-salted boiling water, then remove and chop. Cook 1 pound spaghetti in the pot; about halfway through, add ½ cup of the pasta water to the blender with the ramps, the zest of a lemon, 2 glugs of good olive oil and a palmful of Parmigiano. Purée then toss with drained spaghetti and season. Devour.
Roasted Ramps: Think crisp kale chips: Toss a bunch of ramps in a large rimmed baking sheet with a hearty drizzle of good olive oil and some salt. Slide the pan into the middle of a heated 325°F oven until bulbs are golden and leaves are crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Sweet.
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Pickled Ramps: Cut off bulbs and save greens for later. Blanch bulbs in boiling water 30 seconds and drain. Put in a heat-proof jar. Bring 1 cup each of plain (not seasoned) rice vinegar and water, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil, stirring, and pour over ramps. Chill at least 1 day before sampling, and keep chilled in fridge. Serve with cured meats and sausage. Rejoice.