Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Market

Up here in the Pacific Northwest spring arrives later than in the rest of the country, especially when it comes to the growing season. For us, early April usually means a chill in the air, grey skies, and more rain. While family and friends located in warmer climes are already flooded with asparagus and rhubarb, I’m still waiting impatiently. Our farmers market only has a few greens, veggie starts, and cut daffodils.

So I went to the farmers market over the weekend not expecting too much. But there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me—ramps!

Pristine ramps, so fresh and alive. In my anticipation of asparagus season, I had forgotten all about the ramps. I bought one bunch, and then thought better of it and went back for another.

I found one other thing at the farmers market—inspiration. I can wait for the other spring produce; this week we’ll be having lightly sautéed ramp greens and grilled ramp stems and Pickled Ramps.

Pickled Ramps
Printable Recipe

½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
3 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
½ pound ramps, cleaned and blanched

Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander, black peppercorns, allspice, and bay leaf in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the ramps into a medium jar and add the hot vinegar mixture. Let cool to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Makes about 6 to 8 servings. Ramps tend to be very dirty. To prepare them, trim the root ends, peel away any dried or dirty layers, and rinse them thoroughly. If the leaves are dried, mushy, or discolored, trim them too. Pickled Ramps keep for weeks tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Don’t hesitate to double the recipe because they go fast. These sweet and sour pickles are perfect on steak sandwiches. In case you’ve never had a ramp, they’re related to onions, and they taste like a cross between onions and pungent, pungent garlic. Ramps are absolutely delicious, but what I’m trying to say is don’t plan on getting too close to your sweetheart after you’ve dined on ramps.


Hungry Gal said...

I planted ramps last year in my back yard and surprise surprise - they have pushed their way up. If they do make it all the way to harvest, I will be doing this!

Evelyn said...

Is this the same thing as rampion, which features in the story of Rapunzel? I always wondered what that was.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

I don't believe the two are related.

Molly Fuller said...

I am making this recipe now. I'm going to put it on deviled eggs with shaved french breakfast radishes and chervil. I thought this would be a nice accent to the egg instead of putting a pickled something inside so the composition of the egg is layered. Egg white to creamy yoke to pickled ramp. yum!! Will let you know how it tastes. Thank you for the recipe.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

That sounds fantastic—I can almost taste it now! Enjoy!

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