I Will Not Write About Ramps
Okay, maybe just one recipe with this delicious, trendy wild leek. Or three.
Photos by Leah Lizarondo
I will not write about ramps. I will not write about ramps. I will not write about ramps!
No, no, no. I must resist the urge to jump on a bandwagon already filled to the brim by 1,000,000 food blogs, food magazines, Tweeters and Instagrammers.
I give up. I’ll write about it. It’s too hard not to. In fact, I’ll write about ramps and use them three different ways. If I’m going to give in, I’m giving in big time. All the way, baby!
Ramps (or wild leeks) are perennials that have the best “2-in-1” flavor in the sauté world: garlic and onion together. How can one resist that magic coupling? Ramps grow early in the spring for a brief period of time and their appearance has every food-obsessed person — armed with a camera phone and social media — hunting for them and posting their find posthaste. And as soon as they do, multiple, almost-instantaneous and simultaneous “Where did you find these?!” arrive in their comments sections, Twitter mentions and Instagram notes.
And all this hubbub is for good reason, because ramps are genuinely not easy to find. I learned from my friend and forager, Melissa Sokulski of Food Under Foot, that if you chance upon them while taking a hike in Pennsylvania, you are not allowed to harvest in city, county or state parks. While ramps are native to the Appalachian region, they are difficult to establish and overharvesting can be devastating to them. So unless you have them in your yard, you can find them in specialty food stores for about $15 a pound (and most of the ones I have seen come from West Virginia.)
I like to use both raw and cooked ramps. The flavor is truly assertive and unique. Once you taste it, you will understand what all the ramp-age is about.
Here are three recipes that can stand by themselves or can also be combined for one showstopper of a dish.
Roasted Asparagus and Ramps
- ½ lb. ramps
- 1 lb. asparagus
- Olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Trim the tough bottom parts of the asparagus and if thick, peel the tough outer layer with a peeler.
3. Cut the ramps in half, separating the leaves from the bulbs. Chop the bulbs and reserve the greens for the pesto.
4. On a baking tray, toss the asparagus, chopped ramps with a little oil, salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer.
5. Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.
Ramp and Macadamia Nut Pesto
- The leaves from ½ lb. of ramps
- ¼ c. macadamia nuts
- ¼ c. – 1/3 c. olive oil
1. Place in a food processor and puree together.
2. Adjust the olive oil to desired consistency, although allow this pesto to be a little more runny than what you are used to – the flavor is strong!
Head over to The Brazen Kitchen for the recipe.
1. Divide roasted asparagus into eight.
2. Place in center of crepe and tuck the sides of the crepe.
3. Turn the fold of the crepe down on the plate to hold it in place.
4. Repeat with other seven.
5. Drizzle the prepared crepes with the prepared pesto, reserving leftovers for later use (amazing over pasta!)