Wednesday's In the Know: All Things Ramps
They may now be hard to find with summer just around the corner, but chances are at some point or other you have come across ramps when dining out or at your local farmer’s market. When spring has sprung, so have the abundance of ramps! Although their delectable flavor profile may have distracted you during consumption, I like to think they may have made an impact in some way or other.
So, what are ramps?
o Ramps are part of the onion family, hence the title “peeling away the truth.” Gosh I’m clever! They look like “spring onions” but with flatter and wider leaves.
o Ramps are wild leeks, foraged from shaded, woody areas. They’re one of the first signs of spring, and one of the first edible green things to hit markets. Their flavor is a combination of garlicky, oniony, and pungent. – Bon Appetit
Cooking with Ramps:
o You can use them anywhere you would use scallions or spring onions. – Bon Appetit
o Ramps are the gorgeous, perfect little cousin of the onion: delicious when fried in bacon grease, prepared with eggs, or delicately pickled. – Eater.com
o There are countless of ways to use ramps, beyond simply slicing and sautéing as you would any other onion (they are just leeks, after all). Roast or grill them whole—the high temperature will render the bulbs tender, while making for some seriously crispy leaves. And yes, you can, and should, eat the entire thing. – Bon Appetit
o Once you’ve tired of eating them as a side dish, throw them into a pesto! – Bon Appetit
o For your next batch, dunk them in a buttermilk batter and fry them whole. Still have more ramps? Pickle them with a mix of red chiles, bay leaves, fennel seeds, black pepper and salt, vinegar, and sugar. They’ll keep for two weeks, unless you preserve them by canning; in that case you can eat ramps all year long. – Bon Appetit
o With a super short season, they are hard to find and when you do, they will cost you a pretty penny! According to Eater, they can cost $20/pound.
o If you are looking for them at your local farmer’s market, they may be “accounted” for before you can even pull out your pocketbook. Chefs, like those frequenting Santa Monica Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, parade the Santa Monica Market with their sous chefs and wagons in toe searching for the best of the best for that evening’s service.
o Chefs make it a priority to know their farmers and build relationships with them in which a simple exchange of emails or phone calls accounts for the entire crop. The best of the best restaurants offering the best of the best ingredients!
o Store ramps as you would herbs; lightly wrapped with damp paper towels in an un-zipped ziplock bag in the refrigerator. The damp paper towels keep them hydrated until use!
Now that we have peeled back a few layers and uncovered the delectable life of ramps, it’s time to head to the market and pick up a bunch! We have some cooking to do!
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