I was out fishing the other day and found myself in the middle of a field, full of ramps. Had I had a wheel barrel and a day to kill I would have dug up about a hundred pounds of ramps. I didn't have either and only had my knife and a plastic bag so I dug up about 5 pounds of ramps with leaves attached. I have had ramps in the past but only tasted them and never really had enough to try new things with. Now I had plenty of ramps to try a few different dishes and see what I like so I can go back and get more ramps
Fresh dug ramps
One of the first things I did when I got home was use some of the leaves in my Ramen and had a beautiful bowl of soup with ramp leaves and smoked pork jowl. It certainly beat the Ramen I used to eat in college. I had about three pounds of bulbs and a bag of leaves so I started looking for ideas. I have a book called Abundantly Wild by Teresa Marrone and remembered reading a recipe for candied ramps. I had been wanting to try these candied ramps so I made a batch of them and was amazed at how wonderful and subtle the ramps were, stewed with honey, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. The recipe called for apple juice or orange juice but I had neither on hand so I used what I had.
cooking the ramps for candied ramps
The candied ramps were sweet and tart and I can only imagine would make a great complement to a duck confit appetizer. Conveniently I have a festival coming up in June and six confit'd duck legs in the freezer so I will be combining the two somehow.
I decided to pickle the remaining ramps and used the recipe from Live to Cook by Michael Symon. I have used his book for many of my pickling recipes and find that I am never disappointed. These were no exception, pickled ramps are easily my new favorite pickled veggie.
I still had a bag of ramp leaves to deal with and was just throwing them in with everything. My wife and I had omelets with ramp leaves and then I went out on a limp and made up a salad of shaved asparagus and ramp leaves with a Parmesan lemon vinaigrette. I had gotten some asparagus from a buddy of mine at Caerwyn Farms, his asparagus was about the size of one of those small bats they give away at baseball games, but still as sweet and tender as any I have ever had. Not only was it a great salad but it also made a great topping for bratwurst. Somebody once told me that I live a tasty life, I couldn't agree more. Everywhere I go I am finding new things to eat and cook and with friends like Rick at Caerwyn Farms I always seem to have great ingredients to use.
Shaved Asparagus and Ramp salad with Parmesan and Lemon Vinaigrette
1 pound shaved asparagus
1/2 pound Ramp leaves cut about half inch thick
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice then add Parmesan and season to taste with salt and pepper.