We always look forward to Thursdays and our potato delivery from Bob at RSK Farms - this week he had a wonderful surprise for us . . . ; ramps! If you've never had the pleasure of tasting a ramp, the flavor and aroma is a combination of onions and garlic, although they're often referred to as "wild leeks". They grow from South Carolina to Canada, and in many areas are considered a spring delicacy and a reason for celebration. After all, anything that you can harvest this early in the growing season brings excitement and anticipation to those of us craving farm fresh (or in this case often "wild") food.
We cut off the tip of the bulb (the root end) and gently washed the ramps, then put them in a saute pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and a splash of water and let them braise gently until they were tender (about five minutes). Once they're cooked to perfection, serve them as an accompaniment to seafood or chicken. Today, we put some of them in the food processor and buzzed them into a puree which we used as a base sauce for fresh Long Island blue fish.
Ramps uniquely pungent flavor is a fabulous addition to soups, egg dishes, and potato dishes. They're also great in scrambled eggs or with pan-fried potatoes for a wonderful Sunday brunch item. After a winter of working with and eating root vegetables the fresh, clean flavor of ramps are a delight and a harbinger of good things to come. Enjoy them while they last - they're one of those fleeting spring delights in the Northeast!