The first few weeks of spring can only mean one thing; it’s officially ramp season! It’s that special time of year where chef’s throw root vegetables out the window and grab these fragrant greens just breaking through the soil. So what exactly is a ramp and how can you cook with ramps in your own kitchen? Here’s everything you need to know about these unique spring greens.
Ramps look similar to scallions but have one or two long green leaves on the top. Ramps also have a mild onion flavor with hints of garlic and leek. Sometimes they are referred to as spring onions, but that is actually a completely different ingredient all together. Ramps are grown and harvested in many areas of the country, and I actually got the beautiful ramps pictured above from my uncle’s farm in Kentucky. But remember, as quickly as you can get your hands on them in the beginning of April, they disappear just as fast, only lasting a few weeks.
Ramps are beautifully delicate but packed with intense aromatic flavor, so try preparing them a few different ways. For example, pickling the white bottoms in vinegar and dry spices will add an acidic punch to any salad. Save the green tops and sauté them for elegant scrambled eggs. Ramps are also great roasted, and they will become sweet and caramelized like onions. Quickly blanch ramps for a simple preparation that works very well in pestos and sauces. And one of the most unique and delicious ways to work with ramps is to fry them. Try making a light tempura batter and fry them until they are crisp and golden.
However you decide to cook ramps, they are a delicious green worth buying and experimenting with this spring in your kitchen.