Monday, May 3, 2010

Ramps 101

Y-A-Y for RAMPS!

Found some at my local
Wegmans yesterday for $12.99/lb! I'd been searching for them locally in New Jersey this year instead of making the 60+ mile trip to NYC's Union Square Greenmarket (increasing my carbon footprint by travelling so far would defeat the purpose of trying to 'eat local') and was stunned to find them at my regular supermarket for such a good price.

I'd also asked my mother-in-law Barbara to be on the lookout for ramps - she'd been scanning her local farmers markets and grocery stores in Bucks County, PA for the last couple weeks. And she too found wild ramps at her local Wegmans for $12.99/lb. But when she called me to report her exciting find, she sheepishly admitted that she didn't buy any because she didn't have the faintest idea what to do with them. So I thought I'd do a quick primer for her so she can go back and get some before the short season is over.

How to Prepare Ramps

1. Give them a good rinse to get off all the dirt:

2. Cut off the bulb and roots:

3. Peel off the slimy membrane from the stem:

4. Rinse them again to remove any leftover dirt and membrane on the stems:

5. Give them a spin in a salad spinner (or towel them off):

Clean, dry and ready to use!

Ramps have a distinctive odor when raw but don't let that scare you off, they are surprisingly mild when cooked, possessing a sweet scallion-y flavor with a hint of garlic (similar to garlic chives). Try substituting ramps in recipes that call for leeks, scallions, or onions.

The easiest and best way to enjoy ramps is grilled. Simply toss whole ramps in some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill until lightly charred. Grilling brings out their natural sweetness and makes them utterly irresistible.

Another easy way to enjoy ramps is in scrambled eggs. Lightly sauté chopped ramps (stems and leaves) in butter over medium heat for 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low and add beaten eggs. Cook over low heat, pushing eggs around gently with a spatula to form 'curds'. Right before the curds are set, stir in some shredded gruyere or fontina cheese.

Or if you are watching your cholesterol, try an egg white 'scramble' with ramps and asiago cheese (my breakfast this morning):

For more ideas on how to enjoy this seasonal delight, check out my ramp cooking marathon from last year.

Now go get your ramp on, Barbara!



Jenn said...

Yum!!! You know I've never had ramps before. They sort of look like green onions, but with a leaf at the top. I'd like to have some for my salad. i need to keep an eye out for them.

Sue said...

Congratulations for finding them around here! That IS pricey, but with the train prices, I guess it was a bargain.

That's a great how-to on ramps. I'll keep it handy.

Phyllis said...

Jenn: Raw ramps can be quite assertive in their flavor, but I think they would taste great chopped up in a salad, although in moderation. Too much and you might have 'eau de ramp' coming out of your pores! I hope you can find some ramps in LA :)

Sue: Yes, I was ecstatic to find them, although I was torn about how much to buy since I am leaving for Vancouver in a couple days. $12.99/lb is actually quite reasonable, I got a nice bunch for about $4 at Wegmans, which is just slightly higher than the Union Square greenmarket prices.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for the tip on where to find ramps locally. I've never eaten them so I am curious to try. Thanks for the ideas on how to prepare them too.

Phyllis said...

Linda: No problem. Let me know what you think if you try them! :)

KennyT said...

12.99/lb :) that's expensive

Carolyn Jung said...

My kingdom for some ramps! You East Coasters are so lucky that they're everywhere there now. On the West Coast, you can ever find them. Sigh.

Tangled Noodle said...

If not for my procrastinating ways, I would've had a ramp post today, too! I think we are mind-melded . . .

I'll have mine up in the next day or two, but I'm so glad I saw yours - what a great idea to put them in the salad spinner. I did it the hard way, blotting them with paper towels. Much prefer your method.

They really are as tasty as everyone has been raving about!

Phyllis said...

Kenny: $12.99 is pretty cheap! They are going for $30/lb in other parts of the country. Don't tell me you can buy ramps in HK for cheaper? Please ship some over! ;)

Carolyn: Yes, I am fortunate I can at least get my hands on some. They weren't terribly easy to find in NJ though, and I had several foodies searching for them as well. Most people I've met here have never even heard of them!

Tangled Noodle: LOL, we're totally mind-melded, I almost procrastinated to the point of not even writing the post! I just learned that ramps are also native to Minnesota - had no idea they grew that far west. Can't wait to read your post! :)

Unknown said...

I'd love to try these, but in the UK, I think you would have to go to Borough Market or some such foodie paradise in order to find them.
Love the omelette, even if there are no yolks in them ;).
*kisses* HH

Phyllis said...

Heavenly Housewife: I do love yolks but I'm clearing out my fridge and only had egg whites. I've heard of a similar wild leek called a 'ramson' that is native to the UK. They're probably in season now :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I've been looking for those at Wegmans and haven't seen any yet this year, they must have just gotten them - hope I will find ramps at my Wegmans tomorrow. I like the idea of ramps with scrambled eggs, yummy!

Jackie at said...

I love ramps but it's so pricey!! Love the flavor :)

Kathleen said...

I've never heard of ramps. Thanks for enlightening me! They sound delicious!

Phyllis said...

5 Star Foodie: I hope your Wegmans gets them soon. I was so excited to find them there this year!

Jackie: Worth the splurge to enjoy them fresh once a year!

Kathleen: I only learned about them a couple years ago and bought some just to see what all the hype was about. Now ramp season is something I look forward to every spring. I hope you get to try them :)