When I wrote about ramps last week, I completely neglected to include some tasty recipes. Here are three.
The best way to preserve ramps to enjoy year-round is by pickling them. These pickles will age well in the fridge—I usually let mine go for at least a year—though they'll be perfectly tasty after just a couple weeks. Make a whole bunch and give'em out as gifts during the holidays. People will thank you for that little taste of spring in the middle of winter. Pickled ramps go really well with seafood, grilled meats, burgers, hot dogs, and salads.
Ramp dumplings take the awesome flavor of ramps and pork, and shove'em into a homemade tender-chewy potsticker (yes, you can use store-bought skins) if you'd like.
And no spring brunch is complete without a serving of fried eggs with ramps and bacon.
Shopping and Storage
The season is only a couple more weeks long, but the ramps are still tasty. Check your local farmers' market or Whole Foods for them (they are relatively widely available, at least on the East Coast).
When selecting ramps, look for bright leaves with little to no wilting. The leaves should stand up if you hold the ramp by its bulb. The bulb end should be pure white, and it should either transition straight to green in the leaves, or transition from white to purple to green. Any orange or yellowish colors are a sign that its past its prime.
Once you get the ramps home, wash them under cold running water to remove the dirt from their bases. Arrange them around the perimeter of a salad spinner, laying them out lengthwise so they don't get crushed when you spin them, then spin them carefully to completely dry them.
Wrap the ramps in a slightly moistened paper towel, and place them in a plastic bag with a few holes punched in it for circulation. The ramps will only last around 3 days, so use'em quick!