Our Favorite Ramp Recipes for Spring
Ramps season is fleeting, lasting just a few weeks every spring. Also called wild leeks, ramps are boldly flavored when raw and tamed to a gentle savory-sweetness the moment they encounter a heat source. When you're looking to eat the seasons, ramps are a rewarding place to start. These are our very favorite ramp recipes to help you make the most of ramp season.
Look for ramps at the farmers' market, in your CSA box, or at Whole Foods and other high-end grocery stores in mid- to late spring.
What are ramps?
Ramps are wild leeks, and they're one of spring's first edible greens in several parts of the world, including the northeastern United States. This — and their bright, garlicky, savory flavor — makes them much-celebrated by chefs and home cooks alike.
The photo above show ramp leaves. The one below shows a ramp with the edible bulb still attached, trimmed of inedible roots.
How to cook ramps
You can eat ramps raw (as in pesto), which showcases the depth of their pungent garlicky, shallot-y flavor. You can pickle them, which takes the edge off of the garlicky bite. You can cook them, which mellows them instantly and allows their sweetness to shine. Here's a list of our very favorite ramp recipes, in which you'll find all the details.
Every year, before we do anything else with ramps, we make a giant batch of ramp pesto with basil and spinach. Some for now, some to freeze for later.
As they say, what grows together goes together. Ramps and asparagus are a brilliant example of this phenomenon. Our creamy asparagus soup with ramps is a favorite.
This rainbow-colored, full-flavored pasta dish showcases ramps two ways. Sopressata, spinach, and cherry tomatoes pair effusively with sautéed ramps and dollops of dreamy ramp pesto.
This wonderfully flavorful vegetarian carbonara recipe uses the traditional Italian carbonara technique but substitutes thinly sliced ramps and asparagus. It's so good.
This creamy dip isn't our first stop when ramps are in season, since their flavor is more contributory than front-and-center. But boy, this is a delicious, crowd-pleasing dip and a great way to end the season.