Meet ramps …
In the bowl pictured above are some chopped ramps, a wild onion that grows in the Eastern part of the United States and Canada. Also known as a wild leek, it has a bold flavor with notes of onion and garlic. And until this past weekend, I had never had one, despite hearing raves about them. At right, you can see what they look like in their natural form.
Basically, you remove the root part and use the rest of them. Stems, leaves … it all works.
Are you familiar with ramps?
I’ve known about them for a few years, but have never been able to procure any. However recently when my Garlic Scape Carbonara recipe was featured on Saveur, I received a kind note from a new reader asking if ramps could be used in the recipe. I told him that it was possible — though I’ve never actually had ramps. He offered to send me some, and I excitedly agreed. Last week, they arrived.
Now, it’s one thing to read about the garlic-onion taste of ramps and a whole other to experience it. I sauteed a few up to get a feel for their taste and fell in love. Head over heels love. Then I whipped up a Ramp Pesto … oh my.
That night, the kids and I feasted on more sauteed ramps, Tortellini with Ramp Pesto and a Jamie Oliver recipe for braised cabbage (more on that tomorrow!). It was a delicious, decadent night. Will wasn’t a fan of the cabbage, but couldn’t get enough of the ramps — particularly the pesto.
Do you have a favorite ramp recipe? Share! I have a few more to play with and am trying to decide what to do with them.
A special thank you to reader Mark! And thank you to the Colrain, Massachusetts, farm where these were harvested. We LOVE them.
yields about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup ramps (greens and white part), cut into 1 inch lengths
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Add ramps, spinach, walnuts and salt to a food processor and process to a paste. Add oil and process again. Stir in Parmesan.