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  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

I Try Not To Go On About Ramps, But I Can’t Help Myself

I got my ramps from Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry

I got my ramps from Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who are obsessed with ramps, those who want to strangle the latter for being so obsessed with what could be considered a weed, and those who have no idea what a ramp is.

I am obsessed with ramps. It’s not a pretentious culinary thing. I just love them. They are gently zingy. You can eat almost the entire thing up to the tips of the leaves. You just have to cut off the roots, and the rest is all good. They are as versatile as onions, scallions and regular leeks, and yet they have their own distinct flavor and uses in the kitchen.

I love how elusive they are. You can only find them in the markets for a few short weeks every year. I love it when someone spots the first ramps, as though they’d found Bigfoot or Nessie in the greenmarket.

And I love that they can be such a lucrative crop for farmers. No planting, no cultivating. Just foraging a few days out of the year. People happily pay $4 for a bunch of plump ramps. I certainly do!

If you are the second type of person, sorry not sorry for loving ramps. I’ll try not to go on and on about them in your presence, but I can’t guarantee anything.

For the third type of person in the world, ramps are wild leeks. They grow briefly all over the countryside for a few weeks in late spring. So we have to enjoy them while we have them!

My Ramp Recipe – Sautéed Ramps & Asparagus Pasta:

This week, I picked up two bunches of ramps from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket. I chopped them into 2-inch pieces and sautéed them in olive oil with a dash of seasalt. I steamed a bunch fresh asparagus, also cut into 2-inch pieces and also from the Greenmarket. Once the asparagus pieces were tender, I tossed them in the sautée pan with the ramps. Finally, I served the ramps and asparagus over fresh, handmade spaghetti from Eataly, with just a dash of olive oil mixed through. The meal was fresh and delicious, mild but rich, and very pretty and green. I’d have taken a picture of my bowl, but I couldn’t wait to eat.


~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City

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