What are ramps and how do I cook with them?
This trendy, super-flavorful vegetable is in short supply, but that doesn't stop foodies and restaurateurs from clamoring for them.
It's not a scallion, it's not a leek, it's not an onion ... it's a ... ramp?!
Similar to the elusive truffle, the ramp (also called a wild leek or spring onion) carries with it an air of exclusivity that sends fans scrambling to their nearest farmers market around mid-spring, clamoring for a few stalks before season's end. But why the frenzy around this humble crop? Much of the allure is due to its short season, resulting in limited quantities. And, like the aforementioned truffle, ramps are foraged from the wild, rather than farmed.
Procuring this pungent veggie is not easy, but if you can get it, the ramp makes an excellent ingredient in all sorts of dishes, from grilled meats to pesto to your morning eggs.
We've rounded up some suggestions to help you make the most of this coveted crop.
For simplicity's sake, replace basil with ramps in your pesto recipe. But to ensure a bright green color in your pesto, you'll want to separate the ramp's white bulbs from the greens, then cook separately.
Bon Appetit offers a stunning pesto recipe with pasta and guanciale, which is salt-cured pork (you can also use pancetta or bacon).
Eggs with ramps
Epicurious keeps it simple and straightforward for a flavorful ramp breakfast: Chop a handful of whole ramps (bulbs and leaves) and cook them in butter before adding eggs. If you're a Mediterranean food lover like we are, you can add spinach or another favorite leafy green, and call it green shakshuka.
Roasted ramps and potatoes
A great one-pan side dish or breakfast idea: Roast ramps and thinly sliced potatoes in salt, pepper and olive oil, until bulbs are golden and leaves are crisp, about 25 to 30 minutes.
The versatility of pizza is pretty much endless, so why not get a little adventurous with your toppings? Slice ramps lengthwise and sprinkle over your homemade pie, and bake until the cheese bubbles.
Substitute for onions
Use in basically any recipe where you'd normally add onions, leeks or scallions, like this casserole. But be careful: Ramps have a naturally pungent flavor, so you won't need too many extra spices. Enjoy the aroma!
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