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7 min read

This Week’s Vegetable Box Feature: Wild Leeks… also known as ramps or ramsons 


Did you know?

  • They are one of the earliest wild edibles to emerge, and, for some, they're the holy grail of wild edibles.
  • They are a type of wild onion with a unique garlicky-onion flavor.
  • Their distinct flavor can't be rivaled by anything that is commercially cultivated.
  • They're only available for a very short window in the spring.
  • Historically ramps were considered a spring tonic in the Appalachians. 
  • They are rich in vitamins A and C, selenium, and chromium. They also contain antioxidants.


Fun Fact:
Early settlers looked forward to harvesting them after long, hungry winters, as it would have been one of the first vegetables they had eaten in months.

 

Where to store them?
For short term storage put ramps in the refrigerator. Store them in the door of your refrigerator so they don’t get too cold. They should be stored uncleaned. The leaves will start to wilt in the refrigerator after four days or so.

How to Use them?
Both leaves and bulbs can be eaten and both are delicious. Ramp bulbs and leaves can be diced and used just as you would use onions, green onions, leeks, chives and garlic, but they are much more potent. They pair well with the following: pasta, eggs, wild mushrooms, potatoes, stir fried and raw greens or pork. You can also enjoy them raw, chopped up and added to salads.


Recipes:

Ramp Tacos
Created by: Plate and Pencil

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo! 

Ingredients:
1 small bunch ramps (8 to 10 stalks)
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pack 6-inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup guacamole (homemade or store-bought)

 

Directions:
1. Clean the ramps and dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Separate the leaves from the bulbs. Finely chop the bulbs. The leaves can stay whole or you can roughly chop them.

  1. Heat the black beans in a small pot over medium heat. Stir in the cumin and salt and heat for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. In a dry skillet, heat up the corn tortillas, about 30 to 60 seconds on each side, using tongs to flip them over. (I usually just use 1 tortilla per taco, but if yours are on the flimsier side, use 2 per taco.)
  3. In the same skillet, add the oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the ramp bulbs and cook for about 1 minute. Add the ramp leaves and cook for another 30 seconds. Turn off the heat.
  4. Assemble the tacos by adding some black beans, guacamole and sautéed ramps to each. Serve and enjoy!

 

Spring Salad of Asparagus, Ramps, Snap Peas, & Peas with Lemon Zest Vinaigrette
Created by: Serious Eats

A delicious salad featuring many spring favourites!

Ingredients:
For the Vinaigrette:
6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
2 TBSP juice from 1 or 2 lemons
2 tsp grated zest from 1 lemon, plus a few extra thin threads of zest for garnish
2 TBSP finely minced fresh parsley leaves
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad:
1 cup fresh shelled English peas or 1 cup defrosted frozen peas
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the bias
1lb asparagus, stalks trimmed, tips removed, tips and stalks reserved separately
2 to 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
4 large very fresh eggs
2 TBSP distilled white vinegar
2 TBSP vegetable oil
8 to 12 whole ramps, ends trimmed and cleaned
2 cups tender pea or snow pea shoots, thick stalks trimmed and discarded



Directions:
For the Dressing: Combine olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and shallots together in a small sealable container. Mix together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Vegetables: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch peas in water, boiling until bright green and just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to ice bath with a wire mesh strainer. Add snap peas to blanching water and cook until bright green and just tender, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to ice bath with a wire mesh strainer. Add asparagus tips (not the stalks) to blanching water and cook until bright green and just tender, about 1 minute. Transfer to ice bath with a wire mesh strainer. Remove all vegetables from ice bath and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to dry. Set vegetables aside.

For the Asparagus: Transfer asparagus stalks to blanching water and cook until completely tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer hot stalks to the jar of a blender. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Start blender at slow speed and gradually increase to high. Blend until asparagus purée is completely smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of blanching water and scraping down sides as necessary. Season purée to taste with salt and pepper and more olive oil if desired, then set aside to cool slightly. Discard blanching water.

For the Eggs: In a large saucepan, bring three inches of water to a simmer over high heat. Add vinegar and season with salt. Reduce heat until water is just barely quivering. Break one egg into a small bowl. Swirl water in pot with a wooden spoon, then carefully lower egg into the water. Repeat until all four eggs are in the water. Cook, gently swirling the water and turning the eggs occasionally, until whites are set but yolks are still liquid, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove eggs and transfer to a bowl filled with warm tap water. Set aside.

For the Ramps: Heat vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until smoking. Add ramps and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring and tossing occasionally until browned and lightly crisped. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer ramps to a plate lined with a paper towel.

To Assemble the Salad: Spread asparagus purée along the bottoms of four wide, shallow bowls or plates. Toss the peas, snow peas, snow pea greens, and asparagus tips with 3/4 of the dressing in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad evenly amongst the four bowls. Top each salad with sautéed ramps and a poached egg. Spoon remaining dressing over the egg and season the egg with salt. Serve immediately.


Simple Asparagus and Ramp Soup
Created by: Laura Wright

Simple asparagus and ramp soup is easy to prepare and just a perfect recipe for spring! Only 8 ingredients!


Ingredients:
1 TBSP Olive oil
12 ramps/wild leeks, cleaned and chopped (white bulbs and greens divided)
1 medium waxy potato, peeled and diced
1 lb bunch of asparagus, trimmed and chopped
⅛ tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
¼ cup dry white wine
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4-5 cups vegetable stock/broth
2 tsp lime juice

 

Directions:
1.  Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped white ramp bulbs to the pot. Stir them around and cook them until slightly softened, about 2 minutes.

  1. Add the diced potato, asparagus and cayenne. Sauté the vegetables for a minute or so. Add the white wine, let the alcohol burn off a bit and stir the vegetables some more. Season everything with salt and pepper. Keep cooking the vegetables until the asparagus is bright, bright green, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock to the pot (enough to cover by an inch or so) and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes or so. Add the chopped ramp greens and stir. Simmer until the ramp greens are bright and softened, about 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Carefully blend the soup in batches in your blender to purée. Add the blended soup back to the pot. Add the lime juice to the puréed soup and stir to combine. Check the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary (more salt, lime etc.). To serve, bring the pureed soup to a boil and serve with any garnishes you like.

Optional garnishes: kale chips, cooked quinoa, diced avocado, extra virgin olive oil, fresh pepper, chopped chives/chive blossoms or edible flowers.


Simple Ramp Pasta
Created by: Sabrina Russo

A delicious & easy weeknight meal!

Ingredients:
2oz spaghetti
1 lb ramps, greens and bulbs divided (greens torn into 2-inch pieces, bulbs thinly sliced)
¼ cup + 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, divided
Few pinches of hot red pepper flakes
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1 TBSP finely grated lemon zest
Lemon wedges, for serving
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

 

Directions:
1. Cook pasta. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Season heavily with salt and cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain reserving a cup of pasta cooking liquid.

  1. Sauté ramps. While water is coming to a boil, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of olive oil, followed by ramp bulbs and hot pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add leaves and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes. Set aside until pasta is cooked.
  2. Finish pasta. Add cooked spaghetti to pan with ramps and toss to combine. Stir in cheese, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and reserved pasta water, as needed, to create sauce. Cook over medium heat until sauce comes together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve. Divide pasta among serving dishes. Top with a cheese, olive oil, pepper and lemon zest, as desired. Enjoy.



Ramp Compound Butter
Created by: Cindy Halbkat


Use just as you would garlic butter.

Ingredients:
1 lb softened butter
1 to 2 cups ramp greens, chopped
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth and pack in small containers.


Recipes are curated by Lauren 

 


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