Ramps (Wild Leeks)

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pete, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Likes Received:
    914
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    It's finally Spring up here in Wisconsin (and it's about time-we broke a record this year with 54 days below 0), which means I'm getting a craving for Ramps.  Went to my usual hunting spot today and found just a few starting to poke out of the ground.  I'm hoping that in another week the place will be overgrown with them, like in past years, but we'll have to wait.  Already coming up with ideas on how to use them.

    -Cheddar & Ramp Buttermilk Biscuits

    -Warm Grilled Asparagus and Ramp Salad with a light sweet and sour dressing

    -A Carbonara inspired pasta dish with bacon and Ramps

    -Pickled Ramps

    And a whole host of other ideas.

    Do you forage for Ramps?  And if so, what are your favorite ways to use them?  And if not, what are you waiting for?  They are one of the easiest edible wild plants to locate and identify.  Your best bet for finding them are in shaded, sandy soil, usually in the woods close to creek beds.
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,217
    Likes Received:
    327
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Thanks for sharing that idea. I wasn't aware of them, in fact I don't think I've ever had any? Apparently they look closer to scallions than leeks? Do you identify them by the shape of their leaves? Their smell? 

    I'll try to keep an eye out next time I go hiking... already found tons of wild fennel last year. 

    Here's a picture of ramps I found: 

     
  3. maryb

    maryb

    Messages:
    2,500
    Likes Received:
    180
    Exp:
    Semi pro/retired now
    Saute wild ramps with wild mushrooms and serve over steak, wild ramp omelets, in biscuits as you mentioned, they make an awesome soup with some good beef stock(like an onion soup), I cut slits in a roast and stuff ramps in them then slow cook... use like a scallion that has a garlic bite.
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Likes Received:
    914
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    FF, I'd be in heaven if I found a plot like that!!!  They are pretty easy to identify.  They are often one of the first things up and tower over most other early spring flora.  Not that they are really tall.  The leaves are usually 8-12 inches long, but as you can see in the picture they droop, but for early spring they are one of the taller plants, but soon get taken over by larger ones making them harder to find.  The leaves are similar in shape to many lilies as they are a member of the lily family, like all onions.  The leaves taper down into a stem that is often redish in color which turns to white under ground.  The bulbs are pretty small, like green onions or smaller.  If you bruise a leaf you'll know if have a ramp or not.  They smell strongly of onion and garlic.  Once you've seen them they are super easy to identify.
     
  5. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,018
    Likes Received:
    431
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    When I was about 10 we had a house that bordered the St. Joseph river in South Bend, Indiana.  There were big patches of these scattered throughout the small ravines that headed to the river.

    If only I knew then what I knew now.

    mjb.
     
  6. dcarch

    dcarch

    Messages:
    595
    Likes Received:
    69
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    $18.00 a lb here in NY.

    dcarch
     
  7. pollopicu

    pollopicu

    Messages:
    1,201
    Likes Received:
    53
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I worked in a restaurant that pickled their ramps, and boy were they delicious.
     
  8. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,217
    Likes Received:
    327
    Exp:
    At home cook
    OUCH! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif
     
  9. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Likes Received:
    914
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Teamfat, my parents live in Mishawaka, right on the St. Joesph, over on Lincolnway East.
     
  10. teamfat

    teamfat

    Messages:
    4,018
    Likes Received:
    431
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Cool!  Our house was on Darden Road, about half a mile west of the old TB hospital, a couple miles west of Notre Dame.  My dad was a big fan of their football team.
     
  11. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,751
    Likes Received:
    397
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    Looks like the ridge on my property. Unfortunately there's still 3 feet of now covering it all. 
     
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,379
    Likes Received:
    612
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    I fully expect to pay that in NYC.  I've never had them nor looked for them because they're not on my radar.  But I'm curious as I love the onion family and would sure love to try some.
     
  13. cerise

    cerise Banned

    Messages:
    1,008
    Likes Received:
    31
    Exp:
    Other
  14. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    Charred over hot coals with olive oil, lemon juice and a splash of soy-sauce.  Much like one would do asparagus.
     
  15. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,351
    Likes Received:
    914
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Cerise, were they dipping and frying the whole thing, leaves and all?  Or were they just frying up the stem and bulb.  Never thought of trying that!!!

    Micheal, I've eaten Ramps many different ways but probably my favorite was is charred on the grill and simply dressed.
     
  16. kostendorf

    kostendorf

    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    here in Austria we call it Barlauch.  Right now i can pick it in so many places.  it will be on alomost every gausthaus menu in many different dishes.   I consider it the starting of the season.   We had a early spring this year and i have been picking and using it in dishes for over a month.  Now i am in the Spargel or Asparagus season.  But i am looking Forward to the mushrrom season here.  Got some great places for stein piltz or porcini mushrooms.

     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
  17. slayertplsko

    slayertplsko

    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    16
    Exp:
    At home cook
    Ramsons are amazing, who doesn't love them? Here's what I like to do with them: sauté some quartered or halved cherry tomatoes in olive oil, adding salt, pepper and a bit of dried oregano, boiling a bunch of spaghetti, cutting the ramsons into coarse chiffonade, mixing the three and finishing it with a sprinkling of pecorino romano. No need to blanch the ramsons, the heat of spaghetti will wilt them just enough.
     
  18. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    I will have to try that!  

    btw  Welcome back... haven't read a thread from ya for a few months.  (and missed the different approaches)

    /cheers - hope all is well.