Ramp season is never long enough. The way to maximize it is to use the green tops for sautes and omelets and the like, and to save the crisp white bottoms for flash pickling. If you haven't done much pickling, don't despair: it could not be easier. You give the cloud-white stems a quick swim in boiling salted water to blanch them. Then douse the ramp bottoms with a simple pickling mixture (I like red wine vinegar, thyme, fresh ginger, fennel seeds and a dried red chile). Done! Your dinner party charcuterie platter awaits its garnish.
about 2 cups pickled ramps
ramps, green tops and root ends trimmed off
Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the ramps and cook for 1 minute. Drain and run cold water over the ramps to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Place the ramps in a medium bowl or 1-quart jar. Add the chilies, thyme, ginger, and fennel seeds. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, 3 teaspoons salt, red wine vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and pour this mixture over the ramps. As soon as they're cool, you can serve them, or just cover and refrigerate.
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.