There’s something a little sleazy and exciting about the ramp market. I’ve been reading ‘ramp rumors’ online about certain restaurants that have them earlier than everyone else. I even asked about the source of the ramps I recently ate at a Brooklyn restaurant and was told that it was a secret and that they wanted to make sure there were enough for the restaurant. I would call them sexy but there aren’t many foods that belong to the onion family that scream sensuality. Well, at least not for most of us. There was a strange girl I dated in Ohio but that was more an issue of…well it doesn’t matter.
Ramps are finally here. Some farmers describe them as ‘wild leeks’ or ‘very oniony things that are good in pasta.’ I describe them as the short-season little gems that can be hard to find unless you get to the market much earlier in the morning than I usually do or are able to bribe a farmer. Either way, once you get your hands on these guys, you’re in for a treat. They are not cheap and sell for around $3/bunch in Manhattan. Some farmers will sell two bunches for $5.
When scallions are cooked too long, they tend to lose their bite and can even become bland. Ramps on the other hand, can be cooked in much the same way without losing any of their flare. If you haven’t tried them before, I recommend serving them with something neutral like toast or pasta. You really don’t need to do much. Once you’ve gone through the trouble of finding them, you are rewarded with a very easy cooking process. Here’s one idea:
Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive oil in skillet over medium heat
Add 2 cloves of sliced garlic
Cut ramps in half and add to pan along with a pinch of salt and cracked pepper
Toast 4 slices of crusty bread
Saute Ramps and Garlic for 5 minutes
When toasts are done, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkle of salt
With tongs, top toasts with ramp mixture
If you’d like, you could add some fresh herbs or shavings of a firm pecorino.