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Some people simply don't like ramps. I understand perfectly. Some people also don't like unicorns and rainbows and puppies or Mr. Wizard or telescopes or Calvin and Hobbes or holding hands or Super Mario or hugs or The Beatles or any of the other wonderful things that can make life worth living. Don't like ramps? That's your prerogative. For the rest of us, the start of ramp season—and that's right about, oh...now—is a cause for celebration. It marks the end of winter and the beginning of all the bright, fresh, green flavors to come. They're also freaking delicious.
So freaking delicious I'm devoting an entire menu's-worth of recipes to them. Ready?
First Course: Asparagus and Ramp Soup With Yogurt
Two of the most quintessentially spring ingredients puréed into a simple soup that's best served straight from the blender, topped with a dollop of herb-flecked yogurt. If you've ever wanted to drink spring, this is the closest you'll get.
Second Course: Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps, Snap Peas, and Peas, With Poached Egg and Lemon Zest Vinaigrette
If that soup recipe is instructions for how to drink spring, then this salad recipe is instructions for how to eat it. It packs just about every fresh, bright, sweet, green spring vegetable you can think of onto one plate, served with a simple vinaigrette enhanced with golden liquid egg yolk and lemon zest.
Third Course: Extra Rampy Ramp Risotto
Now we're getting into SERIOUS ramp territory. To flavor this creamy risotto, we start by blanching and blending some ramps, then sweating a few more to form the flavor base for the risotto. It all gets topped off with some sautéed whole ramps and a dollop of ricotta flavored with chives.
Fourth Course: Orange-Glazed Carrots with Ramp Barley and Spinach
We're coming down a bit off of our ramp high to end the meal with a heartier, more subtly layered dish with carrots glazed with orange juice served with toasted almonds, spinach, and barley flavored with ramps. It's still rampy, but just enough to remind you of how great ramps are without absolutely smothering you in awesomeness.
To Drink: Ramp Gibson
You didn't think we were going to serve you a whole meal with nothing to wash it down with, did you? The Gibson—that's a gin martini garnished with a pickled onion—is made even tastier with the addition of a quick-pickled ramp. Better knock 'em back fast, because ramp season don't last long.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.