I have about a pound of very fresh ramps. I'm going to pickle the bulbs, but it seems a shame to throw the tops away . Any suggestions?
Ramp pesto is great.
Don't throw out the tops! They can be used for all kinds of things, like pesto, as the person below mentioned. I have also used them in a ramp risotto, adding the bulbs at the beginning with the rice, and then the sliced leaves at the end of the cooking time for extra rampiness. I like to think of them as a garnish, like fresh herbs, that can be added to many things (soups, salads, etc) before serving.
Great suggestions, thanks!
I made a salsa verde with them, and will serve that on asparagus this evening.
Slice and add the topd to an omelet or scrambled eggs just as the eggs finish cooking, along with thin strips of smoked salmon and goat milk yogurt.
I love roasting the ramps whole - I actually have a recipe uploaded here on Food52. The greens get a little crispy around the edges and the taste and texture are just great!
Nobody but the people on the East Coast even know what they are 😐
Actually, ramps were featured in an episode of season 2 of "A Chef's Life" (PBS):
which originally aired in January 2015. As with all PBS programming, it was nationally broadcast.
However, the fact remains that they are indigenous to eastern USA and Canada, so people elsewhere have very little familiarity with this particular allium. (I recently inquired about ramp availability at a local SF Bay Area nursery and they actually knew what it was, but said that it would be something to order online and that they did not offer it.)
The lack of familiarity is unsurprising, there are many culinary plants that are poorly known outside of their normal area of cultivation or distribution.
I'll bet you a buffalo nickel that some Japanese are equally as proud of kujo negi from Kyoto as someone from Eastern USA is proud of ramps.
Another example? How about potatoes. The Russet Burbank reigns supreme in USA, but there are plenty of other awesome cultivars across the globe.
One such cultivar is BF 15, created by the National Institute of Agricultural Research in France, a cross between the French heirloom "Belle de Fontenay" and the German "Flava" (hence BF). You can't find this potato in the USA, but it is highly regarded in France.
It's worth reminding people that ramp season is very short and they aren't distributed or commercially cultivated.
I decided to rewatch the PBS episode and Vivian does a compound ramp butter with the greens. Not sure if there's a written recipe somewhere online, but it should be fairly easy to approximate.
Love ramps - of all the pesto's I think ramp pesto may be best. Like soft shell crabs, they're synonymous with Spring for me. But just to mention, since you're pickling the bulbs - they're lovely in a martini, or in a Vodka Gibson, instead of a cocktail onion.
I like to use ramps anywhere you'd normally use a small amount of onion or something like shallot or spring onion.
Also with peas when they are cooked in the French style (braised with butter, chopped lettuce and a bit of onion).
Last, they might go well as an addition to Nutella Dawson's recently (April 2018) posted recipe for a chicken traybake.
Correcting Auto Incorrect. Should read: Nigella
Lots of good ideas here, which is good, because I have lots of ramp greens.... So far, I've used them to make a salsa verde with olive oil, lemon juice, and parsley and another salsa verde with avocado and sherry vinegar. Both were very good.
For those of you who don't know what ramps are, cv is right. They're a wild allium native to the Appalachians (that's AppaLATCHians, by the way, not AppaLAYchians) and are only available for a brief window in the spring. In the episode of A Chef's Life that cv references, Vivian Howard calls them a wild leek. Not sure if that's correct taxonomically, but it works for me.
They've always been a part of the diet in this part of the country (western North Carolina), but now they have gained somewhat of a cult status. Traditional recipes use them like green onions. The bulbs taste like spring onions with a bit of a garlicky note. The tops taste like a cross between chives and garlic scapes.
But Amysarah says it best: they taste like Spring!
Perhaps a bit tardy, but Serious Eats has published a roundup of 11 ramp recipes:
Some of these are a bit much for me, but the recipes do show a wide range of applications: the quesadillas, frittata, and dumplings sound particularly appealing to me.
I'm an enthusiastic champion of grilled veggies, so the grilled ramps unsurprisingly strikes a chord with me.