It’s funny how much happiness $20 can buy, at least when it comes to acquiring five bunches of ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket during our trip to New York in April. To say I doted over those ramps in the hotel room–which, for the record, was kept at a very cold temperature to basically turn it into a quasi-refrigerator–is an understatement, but it was worth it because they made it back to Baltimore on the train on Friday morning relatively unscathed. At the very least, they didn’t dry out or wilt or get overly wet, so for me, that’s a win.
The reason why I was so hyper-focused on them is that getting ramps here in Baltimore is by no means an assured thing–though it seems like they are more available at the local farmers markets now–so if the opportunity arises I jump at it. I’ve had some random opportunities since we’ve been here, from the local grocery stocking them last year to Whole Foods having them for a hot minute in 2015, but the lack of reliability will drive me a little nuts. (Seriously, though, I might do a day trip to New York next year to go get them and spend a little time in the city.)
So what did we do with our seasonal treasures? Michael requested some ramp salsa that Friday night we came home to go with some chicken tacos on the menu, and of course I obliged. They went really well with chicken legs, and it had been an age since we had them so it was such a treat all around.
Next up was making some ramp pesto with pistachios and pecorino, and fuck me, it’s my favorite damn ramp application to this day. That I can pair it with the delicate strands of my homemade tagliolini these days is positively glorious, and diving into this bowl of pasta was nothing short of reminding me how magical ramp season is with its garlicky goodness.
Of course, I had to do my two favorite ramp preservation methods, starting by of course making some pickled ramps. Thanks to the excellent recipe from Tom Colicchio, these bulbs held up even if they weren’t the biggest in the season, and I’ve already enjoyed a ramp Gibson or two this season. I’ll be sharing another recipe on how to use them that doesn’t involve liquor here on the blog very soon.
And finally, my other way to enjoy ramps well past May is making and freezing a batch of ramp butter. I haven’t cracked into it just yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so on some toast with pancetta or quail eggs as one of my favorite appetizers. It’s also delicious on some fish or a nice pork chop, but I still prefer good buttered toasts above all.
The arrival of ramps is always my favorite sign that spring is here and winter is done, and as I write this during the last few days of the season, I’m so grateful I got to enjoy them once again.