Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ramps in season!

Ramps (Allium Tricoccum), also called ramson, wild leeks, and in the UK wild garlic, are in season now. They won't be in season long, and when they're gone, they're gone until next year. So when I saw some at the Findlay Market Madison's I snapped them up.

Here's what ramps look like growing. They grow in damp woodlands wild all over the midwest and can be foraged from April through June, depending on how far north you are. Here in SW OH the ramps season is just starting and will last about six weeks. The taste is somewhere between an onion and strong garlic, and they can be used in any recipe calling for garlic.

This is a ramp, not yet cleaned.

I trim the roots, then stick them into a sink full of water and swish them around to get them clean. Like leeks, they tend to collect dirt in their layers, and if you don't clean them thoroughly your finished dish will be gritty.

Here's my bunch all nice and clean:

I chopped them, bulbs and leaves and all, and they're ready to go into my recipe.

I would have loved to pair these ramps with that other early-spring foragers' delight, morel mushrooms, but they were $40 a pound this weekend at Madison's. I think I'll wait for my morel foraging expedition in a couple of weeks to try that combo. This time I just used criminis.

Serves 4

16 oz Rotini
1 t olive oil
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 bunch ramps, chopped roughly
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
1/4 c cream
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
salt & pepper to taste

Prepare pasta al dente according to package instructions and drain. In the meantime in a large saute pan, saute bacon until crisp. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, add to drained pasta, toss to coat, and set aside.

In remaining bacon grease, saute ramps, garlic, and mushrooms until mushrooms are cooked through. Add cream and diced chicken; simmer on lowest heat to reduce, about 15 minutes.
Add veggies and parmesan to pasta and toss to coat, correct seasonings, and chill thoroughly before serving. Even better the next day. Thumbs up here at our house.


vudutu said...

Yum, I thought about that morel hunt until I saw the price! Me thinks we will just take a day and head to Rabbit Hash and see what we can find. I have been tracking the maps and it looks like prime time, It is suppose to rain this week so I'll try and get out soon.

vudutu said...

Opps forgot the link

mvoss said...

Yeah I can't wait to begin my own ramps hunt in the woods. Thanks for the great post.

liberal foodie said...

I've never had ramps but your recipe sounds like a great way to incorporate them.

Audrey said...

We sampled ramps sauteed with wild mushrooms at a friend's restaurant last year. They're sort of like scallions, except so not. What a blessed, savory thing to have on the plate just a week after the winter's last apples are gone.

maybelles mom said...

I took up your advice and found myself some ramps. I have one recipe posted and two more coming.

valereee said...

maybelles mom, very cool on finding the ramps!

A Schewe said...

YEs greetings fellow foragers, here I thought I might add a suggestion. I often gather Ramps and now I insist on teaching preservation of your patch! Check this out, you can and should just harvest the LEAF and leave that precious root in the groud so your plants stay alive and regenerate. I allways leave at least one leaf on each plant. Then I can come back the next week and harvest again, and then the plant can go to seed, and the next year there may be twice as many growing in that particular patch. Whenever I see roots pulled up I see an eventual loss of a specieces precious to our spring forage. With all foraging keep natures cycles in mind and adapt to them and we will be in cycle with nature ourselves 100%.

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