How do you get foodies as excited as dogs chasing squirrels? Just cry, “Ramps!” These wild leeks are one of the first local green things people in the eastern US can find at the farmers' market after a long winter of root veggies.
How do you get foodies as excited as dogs chasing squirrels? Just cry, “Ramps!” These wild leeks are one of the first local green things people in the eastern U.S. can find at the farmers' market after a long winter of root veggies. Their season is short—a mere six weeks—so use them in dishes that will really showcase their musky scent.
1. Eggs: A quick scramble or a frittata is the most classic (and frankly, the best) way use this fleeting spring ingredient. Or try chef and cookbook author David Tanis's genius idea: Store ramps in egg cartons to add a garlicky perfume (er, funk).
2. Pesto: Use them in place of the garlic and herbs in this Italian sauce.
4. Pizza topping: Keep the ramps whole and throw them on top of pizza just before baking. They're especially delicious on a white cheese pie, like this one from Tony Mantuano.
5. Gratin: How can you make cream and cheese taste even more delicious? Yep, just add ramps.
6. Fish: Bake fish on top of the leeks, or, if you want to get fancy, steam fillets with ramps and other vegetables in parchment paper packets (aka en papillote).
7. Pasta: Puree ramps to add to fresh pasta dough or just sauté them and toss them with hot spaghetti.
8. Roasted or Grilled: Cook them in a hot oven or over the coals until wilted and charred in spots—it will just take a few minutes. Then throw them on top of anything. Ok, maybe not ice cream.
9. Biscuits: Mix thinly sliced ramps into your favorite biscuit dough.
10. Chinese Pancakes: Use them in a superseasonal take on Chinese-style scallion pancakes.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.