TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Ramps (Wild Leeks) - THE NIBBLE Blog
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TIP OF THE DAY: Spring Ramps (Wild Leeks)

The prettiest recipe we’ve seen with ramps:
a ramp-stuffed torta from chef Catie Baumer
Schwalb of PitchforkDiaries.com. Here‘s the
recipe.

 

We were surprised and delighted to see spring ramps in the store yesterday. We thought that the brief ramp season was over.

An early spring vegetable, ramps are so delicious—a combination of garlic and onion flavors—that they are worth seeking out and enjoying, simply sautéed.

Ramps are wild leeks, also known as spring onion, ramson, wild garlic and wood leek. In French, they are called ail des bois, garlic of the woods.

Ramps grow wild and are found in clusters. The entire plant is edible, from the long, smooth, green leaves to the scallion-like bulb.

Since ramps grow wild, they can easily end up in a yard where, alas, they are typically pulled out and thrown away—not only because they appear to be weeds, but for their strong garlic aroma. Should you come across something smelling of garlic, bring it to the kitchen instead of the trash.

 

While ramps can be enjoyed in any recipe that uses a member of the onion family, the easiest preparation is simply sautéed as a side or in combination with other spring vegetables. Combine ramps with asparagus and morels for a heavenly spring feast. There are more serving suggestions and a delicious recipe for eggs, potatoes, bacon and ramps, below.

RAMPS VS. SCAPES

Don’t confuse ramps with their equally delicious cousins, garlic scapes. Scapes are the curling shoots of young garlic plants. For decades they were cut off in the fields and thrown away (to allow the garlic bulbs to grow larger), before growers realized that chefs and foodies were eager to buy them.

 

Many people refer to the vegetable as the wild leek, the name ramp is popular in the East. It comes from England. One version of the name source attributes a folk name, œramsen, the plural form of hramsa, an Old English word for wild garlic. Early English settlers of Appalachian a prime ramp regional used the term, which later was shortened to ramp.

Search for local ramps festivals and mark your calendar so you don’t miss next year’s.

WAYS TO SERVE RAMPS

  • Added to recipes in place of onions and garlic, including raw in salads
  • Fried with potatoes in bacon fat (recipe below)
  • Grill them as a side or a burger topper
  • Make garlicky ramp soup (follow a recipe for asparagus soup)
  • Pickled ramps (recipe)
  •  

    Ramps, picked and cleaned, Photo courtesy ApplePiePatisPpate.com, which used them to make pickled ramps.

  • Sautéed and added to pasta, pizza, scrambled eggs, omelets and fried eggs with bacon (cook the ramps in the bacon fat)
  • EASY RAMPS RECIPE: FRIED RAMPS WITH POTATOES, EGGS & BACON

    Ingredients

    In the South, this dish is served with sides of Pass pinto beans and cornbread. The recipe is adapted from ChickensInTheRoad.com.

  • 6 slices regular or pepper bacon, cooked and chopped, bacon fat reserved
  • 1 cup ramps, white parts and leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 2-3 medium size potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 5 large eggs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chives
  • Optional: shredded Cheddar or Swiss cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1, COOK bacon in a large frying pan; remove, chop and set aside, reserving the bacon fat.

    2. FRY the ramps and potatoes in the bacon fat over low heat, covered, until the potatoes are tender.

    3. CRACK eggs over the ramp/potato mixture and fry, covered, until eggs cooked. Sprinkle on the optional shredded cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and chives to taste.

    4. REMOVE eggs with their ramp/potato beds onto serving plates; top with chopped bacon. Makes five single-egg portions.

      




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