4.23.12 On a Rampage

Ramps 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
I still haven't found any ramps, but it has begun to rain at long last and this is a promising sign for foragers. The forecast includes some nights in the 20s this week, though, and with everything in full bud, I fear for some of the less hardy plants. It was a strange winter and is shaping up to be a very strange spring indeed. Still, for some people it's ramp business as usual, as you can see by the bunches I brought home from the local farmers market. Here are some ideas for how to use them if you, too, have access. Green garlic or slim scallions would also work with these recipes.
Ramp root 790 xxx
rooting around
As more than one person has pointed out lately, ramps—like all wild edibles—must be harvested responsibly. They have that wonderful wild taste that Euell Gibbons talked about, not quite like anything else, and people have gone so nuts for the whole locavore thing, that there has been a lot of pillaging and plundering of ramp patches from here to West Virginia. We've actually planted a bunch in a wet corner of our backyard, so we'll see what happens there...
Cleaned ramps 790 xxx
clean start
You can roast or grill whole ramps to great effect, but you can also separate the bulbs from the greens and use them in different ways. Like other alliums, they have a sheer, sometimes slimy membrane that needs to be removed along with the root end.
Ramps in jar 790 xxx
put up or shut up
I love to pickle ramps. You can pour hot brine over raw ramps, if they're slimmer than your pinkie; otherwise you should probably blanch them first. Here is my recipe.
Pickled ramps 790 xxx
what's brine is yours
Pickled ramps are delicious with cheese, grilled meats and roast chicken, on sandwiches and in martinis. They brine is also excellent mixed with seltzer or cocktails, or instead of vinegar in salad dressings.
Ramp greens 790 xxx
ends zone
The greens are quite good sauteed in olive oil and butter, mixed into a frittata or mashed potatoes. They can also be blanched and pureed into a soup, or mixed with butter as I did.
Ramp butter 790 xxx
butter up
This surprisingly mild ramp butter was the perfect dip for peppery French breakfast radishes. I also stirred a little into soft-scrambled eggs, and slathered some on roasted fish.
Cooked greens1 790 xxx
green construction
With the rest of the ramp greens, I decided to try replicating a delicious preparation I had recently at the beautiful Japanese restaurant in Manhattan, En Brasserie. They served a fat stack of room-temperature, cooked ramped greens topped with tender ramp bulbs, in a pool of what I determined to be warijoyu, a combination of dashi, soy sauce and mirin that is traditionally served with steamed vegetables. What's amazing is how silky the ramp greens become when poached. It was a bit of work to stack them up like this, but worth it for the presentation and the satisfaction of getting a nice compact mouthful.
Scallops 790 xxx
I served the ramp greens with scallops also poached in the warijoyu, a drizzle of wasabi-spiked mayonnaise and a sprinkling of sansho pepper. Light and quietly rampageous.


all of it looks and sounds beautiful. hope you are well.
g on April 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm —
Thanks, Giovanna! Happy spring to you!
laura on April 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm —
Laura..lovely post, beautifully presented, glad Larry sent this to me..and..hope all's well!
Julie G on May 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm —
Thanks, Julie!
laura on May 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm —