Ramps can be a bit mysterious. With a short spring harvest, they're not quite a scallion or a leek; neither garlic nor onion. But ramps are fresher, more pungently scented, but sweeter and more mildly flavored than their fellow alliums. They get along especially well with butter, and pair nicely with pork, eggs, toast, and all sorts of other stuff; and we've got 15 recipes to prove it.
When buying fresh ramps, look for bright leaves and no wilting. Wash them with cold water and dry well before wrapping them in a slightly moist paper towel and placing in a plastic bag. They only last about three days, so use them quick (not that it'll be a problem)!
To really enhance the natural sweetness of this sought-after spring vegetable, toss in a bit of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook over a roaring hot fire. Ramps are naturally milder and sweeter than either scallions or leeks, their closest counterparts in the standard supermarket. They're done and ready to serve atop burgers or on their own in just about two minutes.
Ramp and Chorizo Quesadillas
You can't beat a cheesy, crispy, gooey quesadilla, especially when ramps are involved. Just crisp up some chorizo in a pan to render out the fat, then cook some ramps in that the fat. Combine the ramps, the chorizo, and some grated cheese. Spread that mixture out on a flour tortilla and fold it up before frying in plenty of hot oil for a top-notch hot snack or appetizer.
Extra-Rampy Ramp Risotto
Do you really love ramps? So do we! Triple up on ramp flavor with extra-rampy risotto. This recipe incorporates the cooked down white parts, blanched green parts pureed for a fresh, grassy flavor, and some sautéed ramps to top it off. Finish with parmesan cheese to add richness and depth, a bit of lemon zest and juice to brighten, and a dollop of herb-flavored ricotta cheese to enrich the whole dish.
Puffy Ramp Frittata
Ramps and eggs are natural partners, and there are few egg recipes simpler for a crowd than a frittata. To make an extra fluffy frittata, all you've got to do is whip some of the whites into soft peaks before folding them back into the rest of the eggs. To incorporate the ramps, I keep it simple: sautée them in butter before folding them into the eggs.
Asparagus and Ramp Soup with Yogurt
A deliciously bright green soup made with two of the most quintessentially spring ingredients: asparagus and ramps. Puréed into a simple soup that's best served straight from the blender, its topped with a dollop of herb-flecked yogurt. Cooking the ramps with butter instead of blanching them with the asparagus adds another layer of flavor.
Mapo Dofu (Tofu) with Ramps
Mapo Dofu is Sichuan dish of soft silken tofu flavored with beef and mouth-numbing, citrusy Sichuan peppercorns. This version gets a fresh element with onion-y ramps in place of the traditional garlic. This addictive dish is comforting and spicy, with smooth, silken tofu that slips down your throat in its slick of hot roasted chili oil. The texture is livened up by tiny bits of ground beef and fresh ramps, with a heady aroma of fermented broad beans, ginger, and chili paste.
The addition of a little bit of pickled ramp brine brings an earthy, slightly sweet onion flavor to this classic cocktail. Add a splash of vermouth and a healthy dose of gin before stirring with ice and enjoying with savory snacks before dinner. Make sure to use a fresh bottle of vermouth, and store your vermouth in the fridge for no more than a month.
Fried Eggs with Bacon and Ramps
Ramps and eggs are meant to be together. This simple breakfast dish, with crisp bacon for added measure, makes for an excellent spring brunch. Crisp the bacon before cooking the ramps in the bacon fat and a little butter. Fry the eggs last, and serve together with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Ramp and Pork Dumpling Filling
Utilize that beautiful bunch of fresh ramps for something a little different and make these seasonal pork dumplings. The tender-chewy potstickers marry the awesome flavors of pork and ramps in a juicy filling. Make your own dumpling skins for an extra special touch, or use store-bought for a quick dish.
The best way to preserve ramps to enjoy year-round is by pickling them. These pickles will age well in the fridge—you can leave them for a year or more—though they'll be perfectly tasty after just a couple weeks. Pickled ramps go really well with seafood, grilled meats, burgers, hot dogs, and salads.
Ramp Drop Biscuits
Biscuits are so neutral on their own that they make an awesome vehicle for the sweet, mild flavor of ramps. If your ramps are younger, skinnier little things, you can thinly slice the bulb and add it right in. If not, use only the leaves (unless you want to caramelize the bulbs in a little butter first). Enjoy the biscuits with roast chicken and gravy, or simply with nice butter or maybe even a bacon jam.
Bacon and Ramp Dumplings
Sweet, onion-y ramps and salty, meaty bacon go exceptionally well together. Here they go hand in hand inside a crisp Chinese-style dumpling. Sautée the ramps before adding them to the food processor with ground pork, bacon, cabbage, ginger, and seasoning and stuffing them into dumpling skins.
Cream gravy, made with a blond roux, onions, cream, and plenty of black pepper is a natural partner for buttery mashed potatoes, chicken-fried steak, or yes, biscuits. After all, what goes better with fatty starch than a bit of starchy fat? Fresh ramps add a light onion-garlic flavor and nice flecks of tender green to a gravy that's ready in ten minutes flat.
Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps, Snap Peas, and Peas, with Poached Egg and Lemon Zest Vinaigrette
For a truly successful and bright green salad, follow a few easy steps. Chop your vegetables the same size, use a big pot of boiling water, blanch each vegetable separately, and shock in ice water. An asparagus purée lends texture and color, a poached egg adds a savory note, and a simple lemon zest vinaigrette adds bright acidity. The best part is you can do pretty much everything ahead of time, leaving just assembly at mealtime.
Orange-glazed Carrots with Ramp and Barley and Spinach
To amp up the flavor of barley, fry it in some cooked ramps and oil or butter. The stir-fried barley mixture serves as a tasty platform for tender, sweet carrots and fresh spinach. Top with toasted almonds for a light but filling spring dish.