I like most people had never tried ramps; but since they have become a hipster staple and are now available at my local farmers’ market, I thought I would give them a try.
Ramps have an unusual and distinctive taste. They have hints of scallions, leeks, and garlic, but could never be confused with them. The taste is truly unique and delicious. They are wild and available only for three months of the year (East Coast Spring).
I knew that the leaves would cook down to nothing, so I thought that sautéing them over high heat in butter and olive oil would release the flavor enough so that I could make a pasta sauce with them. The result was memorable. The only trick is to brown the ramps and not burn or blacken them.
Pasta with Browned, Sautéed Ramps
* 3-4 bunches fresh ramps (pictured above)
* 1 lg. Tbsp. European-style butter
* 1 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/4 lb. spaghetti
- Sautee the whole ramps in the butter and olive oil over medium heat in an iron skillet until the bulbs are tender.
- Turn the heat to high and turning frequently lightly brown the ramps. Don’t worry if the leaves shrivel. They are not meant to be a serious vegetable side, but only to add high flavor to the sauce.
- Remove the ramps and chop bulbs and leaves into 1-2” pieces. Return to skillet and add salt and ground fresh pepper to taste.
- Boil the pasta, drain, and mix with the ramps, heating well.