Ah, ramps. So delicious and yet so fleeting (maybe part of the reason we love them so much?). This springtime wild onion with a strong garlic-like aroma is used by a lot of New York chefs in a variety of dishes. From ramp and ricotta agnolotti (at Craft), to Oysters with ramp cream sauce (at Collichio and Sons), to Skuna Bay salmon with grilled ramp aioli and rhubarb chutney (at General Assembly), there seems to be no end to the creative ways chefs here are using this little vegetable. The only issue is, they won’t be around for long.
Ramps are only in season for a few weeks a year (usually from late April to early June, although this year they’re running late). It’s because of this fact (and the massive attention they are getting in the culinary world at the moment), that trying to find them yourself for your own dishes here in NYC used to be a bit challenging. Wandering through the farmer’s market, even in the late morning, could have led to seeing nothing but handwritten “Ramp” signs stuck in empty crates. Thankfully, though, that’s changed.
Charlie, owner of The Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen, knows this better than most. He remembers a time when ramps were harder to find. Today though, he can head over to the farmer’s market at the leisurely hour of 9am to get his ramps (and there are plenty of amazing ones to choose from). “[Today] ramps were literally on every other farm stand (even my cheese guy was growing them),” he tells me. “Ramps, when in season, are much more available than they used to be when they were mostly foraged – but in the past five years their popularity and therefore their cultivation and resulting availability has become much more widespread.” It seems that instead of the increased demand causing shortages, in this case, it’s simply increasing supply.
It’s because of this increased availability that we wanted to spread the word to any unknowing foodies out there; it’s primetime start cooking with these guys while they’re still in season this year. There’s a few small hurdles to this, of course. One being that there are still people that, at the mention of ramps, cock their head slightly like a confused puppy, and two, a lot of people aren’t quite sure how to use them once they have them. So, today we have two videos to try and give a boost to any foodies that might be interested.
First up, “What are Ramps w/ Charlie Marshall”.
Then, a quick and easy recipe to get you started with using ramps (and a great way to keep their flavor around longer). Chef Gregg Berk walks us through it.
1. Cut the ramps to remove the bottom stems.
2. Soak ramps in cold water to remove the dirt.
3. Put the ramps into a blender.
4. Add the nuts, cheese, salt, and olive oil to the blender.
5. Blend until smooth (or the consistency you want it to be).
6. Pour out and either freeze in an airtight container or use!
Anyone going to try out some ramp recipes? If you make something amazing, please share with us!
If you missed it, you should check out how The Marshal cooks their filet mignon in a dish towel (yes, a dish towel)!