It’s been a while since I was able to get in the kitchen. Seven weeks, not that I was counting! My right wrist was fractured in a car accident. I am very thankful that it was only a minor injury, although a huge scare!! Thankfully my husband has embraced the kitchen like a champ all these weeks. Enough of that and on to….
Ramps! I only learned about ramps a couple of years back. They seemed to have been featured in every food magazine, as well as in every local restaurant menu. I had to get my hands on some ramps, the thing is that they are only around for a very short period of time in early spring, about 4 weeks. Then, I understood the craze about ramps! To learn more about ramps, how they grow in the wild, and how they should be consciously harvested, you can read these articles from Edible Madison: Ramps, part 1: Wild Delicacies Under the Forest Floor. Ramps, part 2: Sustainable Ramp Harvesting.
Ramps are certainly a delicacy, they have a mixture of flavors, green onion, leeks, garlic. Although their flavor is very delicate and it is stronger raw, the longer you cook them, the milder they get. They are perfect grilled, when the leaves get a little bit charred by the fire and the bulbs are tender but still hold a strong garlicky flavor. I considered myself lucky last week when I got my hands on some ramps from the market, but I knew I wasn’t going to be able to cook much (busy week). I wanted to somehow preserve that early spring flavor for a little longer. That’s when I decided to make 2 recipes that would last in my fridge for more than just a week, if lucky! 🙂
The ramp salsa verde is very simple, I just blanched the green parts of the ramp, and blended with some lemon juice and olive oil. It felt a little bit bland so I added some bulbs and it was magical. It gained so much flavor! I’ve used this little gem to give a boost to our pork chops by adding a couple of tablespoons to the skillet at the end of their cooking. Used it as dipping sauce for my veggies, yum! Last night I added a tablespoon of ramp salsa verde to 1/4 cup mayo to dip our fries in it. Versatile? Yes! I am sure there are a million more ways I could use it, although I only made a cup!! To preserve the bulbs, I just made a pickling liquid that is so easy because it’s equal parts wine, vinegar, water & sugar. If you are ready now, here are the two ways I used my ramps to get you inspired. Let’s get to it!
Ramp Salsa Verde
(makes about 1 cup)
24 Ramps, green parts only plus 2 bulbs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
More salt to taste
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with iced water. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt, add the greens from the ramps for about 10 seconds, with thongs transfer the ramps to the iced water to stop the cooking. Place greens in a blender, add lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and ramp bulbs. Blend on high until creamy. Season with salt. Enjoy!
22 ramp bulbs (I had 2 dozen and used 2 in the salsa verde above)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 granulated sugar
1 dried Chile de Arbol
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 pinch of salt
(you’ll need a mason jar)
Cut the roots from the bulbs. Combine the wine, rice vinegar, water, and sugar in a small pot, heat on high and stir until the sugar dissolves. Place the ramp bulbs in a mason jar, add dried chile de arbol, mustard seeds, and a pinch of salt. Pour the warm pickling liquid on top. Screw the cap on and turn upside down, to seal the jar. Let cool, keep in the refrigerator. You can use after 24 hours; it will keep in the fridge for up to a month. Additionally, you could go with the canning method to preserve longer. Enjoy!
Note: The pickling liquid recipe is adapted from the book Manresa – Chef David Kinch.