There are some folks out there who don't like the culture of ramps. I get it. They're seasonal. They're expensive. They're only available on the East Coast to those people who are lucky enough to have them growing in their back yard, or are willing to get up early to beat the crowds at the farmer's market. These are all valid reasons for disliking the culture and mythos built up around something that in the end, is really just another onion. I myself am not a fan of this mythos. At the same time I admit to the hypocrisy of being one of its biggest contributors. Here are just 14 of the ways in which you may also find yourself joining the ranks of ramp lovers.
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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?
A creamy gravy flavored with ramps, perfect for biscuits or mashed potatoes.
Things that are good: [x] Ramps [x] Bacon [x] Dumplings [x] Ramp dumplings [x] Bacon dumplings [x] Ramps and bacon. There is only one logical conclusion to this series of statements.
Ramps and bacon go exceptionally well together. Here they go hand in hand inside a crisp Chinese-style dumpling.
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, earlier, skinnier little guys, 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).
Fluffy drop biscuits are a great way to use ramps, one of spring's most anticipated crops. They're amazing sliced in half crosswise and stuffed with chicken and gravy.
Sometimes the simplest methods are the best. Strike that. Usually the simplest methods are the best. We continue our rampage with my favorite cooking method: simple grilling. Fresh spring ramps, tossed in a bit of olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and cooked over a roaring hot fire. It's the ideal way to enhance the natural flavor of this awesome wild spring vegetable.
Grilling ramps enhances their sweetness and gives them a tender-crisp crunch. It's the ideal way to cook this great wild spring vegetable.
Crispy quesadillas stuffed with cheeze, chorizo, and ramps.
The great thing about ramps is that unlike, say, garlic, they can give you all that awesome sweet onion-y flavor without leaving your breath smelling like garlic. I mean, they do leave your breath smelling like ramps, but that's a much finer, rarer thing to smell like. People will literally want you to breathe into their face after eating a bowl full of this extra-ramp-y ramp risotto.
An ultra-ramp-flavored, bright green risotto flavored with blanched ramp greens and whites, topped with herb ricotta and sautéed ramps.
Ramps and eggs are natural partners, and there are few egg recipes simpler for a crowd than a frittata. While at its simplest, a frittata is nothing more than beaten eggs with some mix-ins cooked in a skillet, I like to go the extra mile to make them puffy. Somewhere between a soufflé and a Spanish-style tortilla.
A quick and easy puffy ramp frittata.
This morning a frightening thought crossed my mind: am I really allowed to eat salad for breakfast? Will this meal end up destroying some sort of fragile cosmic balance?
Now's the time of year that asparagus is at its absolute sweet and tender best around here, so I've decided to make a whole week out of it. Welcome to Asparagus Week! Each day this week you'll find a new asparagus recipe here that'll hopefully demonstrate the crazy versatility of spring's finest produce. The key to truly fantastic asparagus soup is the same as the key to truly fantastic grilled asparagus or braised asparagus or blanched asparagus or sauteed asparagus: start with truly fantastic asparagus.
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Note: If ramps are unavailable, substitute with 1 clove garlic and 1 bunch sliced scallions. About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science...
I've never hidden my love for Mapo Dofu, the Sichuan dish of soft silken tofu flavored with beef and mouth-numbing, citrus-y Sichuan peppercorns. But it doesn't have to be a season-less dish. The past few years I've taken to adapting it to the spring by adding in a few big handfuls of sliced ramps, the ephemeral wild spring onions that how up by the bushel at farmers' markets (or if you're lucky, sister's backyard!).
[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt] Note: Both the chili bean paste and the Sichuan Peppercorns can be bought online (follow the links) if you don't have a good Chinese market nearby. Use tofu labeled "silken" in a hardness range of medium...