Still on a Rampage.
After the harsh winters of New England everyone is ready for a sure sign of spring. For chefs and foodies, the new season will mean the slow introduction of some of natures most elusive gifts, with some flavors, after all the waiting, just sticking around for a few short weeks. Spring invites color back into the landscape with buds and leaves appearing on trees, and flowers beginning to bloom, just as much as it brings color back to plates. Colorful dishes mimic the palate of spring, filled with a range of green hues, bright yellows, and vibrant reds. The flavors that these ingredients hold are just as exciting. The tender and delicate bite of a ramp, the spiciness of a round red radish, the earthy lightness of a morel mushroom, or the sweetness of peas straight from the pod.
But there is no taste of spring as entising as the ramp. Also known as the wild leek, the ramp is an onion native to North America. The bulb resembles that of a scallion, but has the beautiful dark green flat, broad leaves to set it apart. Ramps have been available in the Union Square farmer’s market for the past few weeks, as well as in the Chelsea Whole Foods, Eli Zabars, and Eataly, and will remain in season until early June.
Lightly sautéed they are a great addition to pasta dishes, they can be made into a pesto, and pickling them is a great way to keep them around when they are no longer available (plus, the pickled version makes a killer bloody mary). See my recipe for pickled ramps on the Martha Stewart Everyday Food blog here. In addition to the pickled ramps, here are a few other dishes I’ve made lately.