Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Last year we invited some friends for a spring asparagus party, for which we ordered a case of white asparagus from France and I made some Hollandaise sauce for a spring feast. Our guests brought us some wild ramps, which had been growing on their property here in Millbrook. I am ashamed to admit I had never seen ramps, which I later learned are a delicacy native to the Eastern seaboard, growing wild from South Carolina to Canada in April and May. They resemble leeks with stringy roots, thin stems, flat green leaves and a purple streak running up the side of the stem. Part of the onion family, they have a pungent flavor somewhere between that of a leek and garlic. They mellow with cooking. Ramps can be used raw or cooked in any recipe calling for scallions or leeks, but they go particularly well with eggs and potatoes and are often featured with potatoes in omelets and frittatas. They may be grilled, brushed with olive oil, along with asparagus or stir-fried, with sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce; sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over them.  Before cooking, slip off the thin outer layer of skin from the stem, cut off the roots, rinse thoroughly, and scrub off any excess dirt on the bulbs. To store, wrap the root ends in moist paper towels, seal tightly in plastic and refrigerate for three to four days.

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