Ramps, those lovely delicate shoots of wild leeks, are one of the last real wild foods. They sprout right now along the East Coast, and their season is fleeting. Be sure you enjoy them before they disappear. You can’t get any more local than that.
I love to grill ramps with a touch of olive oil and some salt (no black pepper necessary). You can cook them on your griddle, home grill or your outdoor grill on a sunny spring weekend.
Where to find them
Ramps show up sometimes at stores, but you can forage yourself at the forest near you. Look deep into the woods for green patches of ramps, and only eat them if you’re sure they are ramps. Take only the top 30% of the plant and leave the root in the soil so the plant survives.
How to cook ramps
Ramps harbor a lot of grit. Before you cook, place them in a large bowl of cold water, and let stand for 5 minutes to remove dirt and sand. Lift, drain in a colander, and pat dry with paper towels.
We wanted to cook ramps on our Big Green Egg for Mrs. G’s logo unveiling last Sunday. Alas, we couldn’t find any at the store (and were too busy to forage), so we used scallions instead. We grilled the ramps-wannabes along with spring asparagus, and served them with herb salsa.
Here are the recipes for grilled ramps, salsa, and a bonus recipe for sauteed crisped salmon.
- • 2 pounds ramps, trimmed and cleaned (sub with scallions)
- • Three tablespoon olive oil
- • Salt and black pepper.
- 1. Place ramps on a hot side of grill and cook. Turn every once in a while, until tender and charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and serve alongside the salsa.
- The recipes works well with asparagus, too.
- • 1/2 cup olive oil
- • Two garlic cloves
- • One teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- • 2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
- • 1 1/2 cups fresh dill leaves
- • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1. Combine olive oil, garlic, and salt in the blender and blend for about 5 second. Add the herbs and pulse until the herbs are finely chopped. Transfer to small bowl.
- • Four portions salmon or halibut filets, skin on
- • Salt and black pepper
- • Butter to cook the fish
- • Flour to coat the fish
- • Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan until just starting to change color. While the butter is melting, season the filets on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge them in the flour and gently shake off excess flour. Place the filets, skin side down, in the sauté pan.
- 2. Cook until well browned, and the skin is crisp. Turn and cook on the other side until golden brown.
- 3. While the fish is cooking, reheat the ramps and arrange on plates.
- 4. Remove each fillet and place over the ramps. Drizzle with some salsa and serve immediately.