The Northeast woods offer many treasures in early spring, and ramps are always at the top of my list!
These wild members of the onion family, Allium tricoccum, might find their way into a soup. Or, perhaps they’ll dress up a pot of risotto, or liven a stir-fry. Almost every use is enhanced with a quick grill! The smoky flavor lends itself beautifully to the pungent vegetable with its garlicky overtones.
Keep it simple
Brush with olive oil and grill quickly. Chop them up and put them on a little crostini. Salt and pepper and a little squeeze of lemon is all you’ll need! If you are adding them to a soup, a quick grill will transform the soup to a higher level.
If you don’t have time to grill, they are also delicious roasted or sautéed.
Ramps, also called wild leeks or wild garlic, were long used by the native population as a spring tonic, a lush green herb that appears soon after the snow melts. They are high in vitamins C and A and lots of minerals and phytonutrients!
They are protected in some areas, so make sure you buy from a reputable source. Before foraging yourself, find out the regulations in your area and learn how to sustainably harvest leaving the roots. There are some commercial sources available, but most you find will be wild harvested.
Keeping it local
This marinade uses native maple syrup and local apple cider vinegar, nods to a couple of our favorite ingredients. Prepared this way, your ramps will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator, if they last that long. The best way to preserve them longer is to make them into a pesto and freeze.
To liven up any meal, serve it alongside just about any main dish from risotto to baked salmon!
Marinated Grilled Spring Ramps
- ½ lb. ramps, cleaned and roots trimmed
- 3⁄4 cup cider vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup maple syrup
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- ½ cup fruity olive oil
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Get your grill or grill pan nice and hot.
Clean your ramps. Cut any small roots off and rinse until clean. Blot dry, then spray with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Grill one side until the leaves start to char, then flip and grill another minute or so. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, heat the vinegar, maple syrup, pepper flakes, fennel, and salt to a simmer and let reduce for a few minutes. Pour into a bowl an add the olive oil, whisking up well.
Add the ramps and gently toss to coat. Once marinated, they can be stored for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
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