Ramps from West Virginia.
It’s mid-March which means in a few weeks, we will be lucky enough to see ramps pop up at the farmers’ markets. These wild onions are a spring delight–perfectly garlicky and oniony and work well in so many dishes. Their season is fleeting, lasting only from April until May or early June. Have questions? Here’s a quick 101 on a foodie’s best friend, the humble ramp:
- What is a ramp? A ramp is a wild onion part of the allium family (you might see them called wild leeks). It has a very tender green leaf (which is edible) and a white and red root (also edible). The root tends to be more pungent than the leaves.
- Ramp season is just a few weeks, from late April until early June. My dad grew up in West Virginia and he always recommends the earlier ramps over the later season ramps. The ones you get later in the season tend to be much stronger and pungent.
- Why are ramps expensive? Ramps are expensive because they have to be foraged, and you can’t find them just anywhere since they typically grow in very moist soil (which is why they’re always so dirty!) They’re also extremely delicate and difficult to wash. I’ve seen ramp prices vary from a flat rate of $1 per ramp up to $20 per pound.
If you see ramps sold at the farmer’s market, do yourself a favor and grab a punch. Chop them up for fried potatoes for your breakfast or sauté them and serve on pork schnitzel sandwiches. Or, try out my recipe. This poached cod with ramps and pecorino Romano broth capitalizes on the pungent flavor of the ramps and pairs it against a flavorful and fragrant pecorino broth. This rich, garlicky broth is the perfect vehicle for poached cod, but try this recipe out with shrimp or scallops.
–Kylie Perrotti, a founder of the Baltimore Supper Club