25 Ways to Use Ramps

By: Contributor

Farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants are flooded for a few weeks every year with ramps, the wild-grown, subtly-flavored cousin of leeks, onions and garlic. Ramps are the official marker of spring in the culinary community and are found in forests up and down the east coast.

But what can you do with them? Substitute for onions, leeks or garlic, or put ramps in the spotlight of your meals by blanching, grilling, sauteing or eating raw. Get some extra info on ramps here or just dive into these 25 ways to ramp up your spring menu.

  1. Simply grilling or sauteing ramps (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper) are some of the best ways to get the ramps from the backyard into your belly in record time. Take it one step further and top them on crostini for apps.
  2. Ramp season is only a few weeks long, so extend the shelf life of these babies with a quick Pickled Ramps recipe.
  3. You can put those pickled ramps from the previous recipe on just about anything, but why not go all the way and shoot for Pan Roasted Skirt Steak with Fingerlings and Ramp Leaves with a Pickle Sauce (pictured above)?
  4. Or toss those pickled ramps into Egg-Fried Rice with Pickled Vegetables.
  5. Even better, add the pickled ramps to Sauteed Skate with Indian Lime Pickle. If you're filleting the skate yourself, be sure to use an old rag to hold it steady -- not only is skate super slippery, but it also has prickers that can hurt your hands!
  6. Mario Batali whips up an easy calamari and uses it as a base for two different meals: One Hour Calamari in Umido with Ramp Bruschetta and Ramp Ravioli with One Hour Calamari. Whole calamari is easier to clean than you think -- just remove the skin and peel out the cartilage (it sounds gross, but feels just like hard plastic).
  7. Roasted Loin of Veal Served with Roasted Potatoes with Wild Ramps and Morel Sauce sounds like a mouthful, but you’ll enjoy every bite. Start by making the morel sauce. Then pop the veal loin and potatoes into the oven and blanch the asparagus for an elegant dinner, multitasker-style.
  8. Winner winner, Michael Symon’s chicken dinner. This Iron Chef champ's Pan-Roasted Breast with Morels, Ramps and Frothed Parmesan utilizes fresh, earthy ingredients to step up plain ol’ chicken breast.
  9. Prepare the dressing a day in advance for Alex Guarnaschelli’s Seared Shrimp Salad with Sauteed Ramps and Pickle Vinaigrette. That gives the time needed for the flavors to come together, plus shrimp and ramps cook in just a few minutes and everything will be ready when those are done cooking.
  10. An ode to spring: Grilled Snow Pea, Snap Pea and Fingerling Salad with Asparagus and Ramps.
  11. Sauteed Ramps with Apple Smoked Bacon is what side-dish dreams are made of. It takes minutes to make, and tastes delicious.
  12. Try Emeril’s Fried Soft Shell Crab, White Asparagus and Wild Sorrel with a Grilled Ramp Dressing for a lazy, warm weekend lunch. If you can’t find any sorrel, try substituting with a mixture of chard, or spinach and lemon juice, or lemon thyme to recreate the lemony-fresh flavor.
  13. Make some ramp pesto and spread that on everything from crostini to spring vegetable minestrone.
  14. Individual Spring Pizzas are topped with ricotta cheese, ramps, basil and lemon zest for an ultra-light, fresh take on pizza.
  15. Baby Ramp and New Potato Soup with Mini Truffle Grilled Cheese Sandwiches is a classic pairing, stepped up a notch. Use Emmental cheese instead of the desoto called for.
  16. Bobby Flay’s Oven-Baked Flatbread with Pesto, Merguez Sausage and Manchego Cheese is made easier with store-bought pizza bread.
  17. Make the pickled ramps a few days in advance for topping Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab Hot Pot.
  18. For a spring-themed meatless Monday, try Asparagus and Wild Leek Tart with Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Vinaigrette.
  19. Ramps brighten up a Tempura Herring Sandwich. Herring is an oily fish (think salmon) and is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  20. Although it may not sound like it, Rocco DiSpirito’s Spring Green Salad is filling enough for lunch thanks to medium-boiled eggs, fava beans and sweet potato puree.
  21. For all  fishing enthusiasts, here's a meal you can cook as soon as you catch a trout. For everyone else, get a whole trout from the grocery store and still make Peekamoose Streamside Trout with Mushrooms and Potato Pancakes.
  22. Stock up at your local farmers’ market to make Spring Vegetable Salad with Parmesan Tuiles and White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette.
  23. Looking to impress? Whip up Emeril’s Pacific Coast Salmon and Wild Ramps with a Morel, Crawfish and Fiddlehead Fern Ragout. Crawfish can always be swapped out for lobster. Fiddlehead ferns are found only in the spring time.
  24. Grilled Chicken Breast with Foraged Vegetables, Nettle Pesto and Grilled Lightning Tree Farm Flatbread makes use of another farmers’ market favorite, stinging nettles. Remember, they must be cooked prior to eating (otherwise they, you know, sting you!).
  25. Make a quick wild mushroom consomme, or soup, and pour over lots of fresh ingredients for Lobster and Sea Scallops with Spring Vegetables.
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