Word on the Street: Ramps

April 17, 2007

Our source informed us that ramps, which appear only fleetingly in early spring, will be at area farmers’ markets this weekend. Also known as wild leeks, ramps (grown from the Carolinas to Canada) have a garlicky-onion flavor. They can be used, and should be tried, as a substitute wherever you might ordinarily add shallots, onions, leeks or garlic. Choose simple preparations that allow them their “moment”: saute with pasta and olive oil, slice ribbon-thin (a chiffonade) to give new flavor to a spring salad, scramble with eggs, fry with potatoes or saute with spring asparagus.

Tip: Look for ramps that are firm with bright-colored greenery. They will keep well in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. Trim the root ends just before using. Rinse ramps thoroughly and scrub any excess dirt off of the bulbs before cooking them. However, since ramps are not available for long, they can also be trimmed and frozen (in an airtight container) for future use in cooked dishes.

Recipe: Salmon with Ramps in a Wild Mushroom Wine Sauce

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