Ramp season is finally here!!! Horray!!!
To be honest I’m not really sure why everyone is so crazy about ramps. Until three years ago I’m fairly sure they were considered weeds that you might occasionally find at farmers markets in rural Vermont. But all of a sudden they are showing up on menus all over New York City and everyone has gone rampy for ramps! It’s RAMP FEST this weekend in the Hudson valley and I bet you know someone who is going.
But of course I’ve been swept up in the hype. I NEED MY RAMPS and I found myself googling “when is ramp season?” at least twice this March. And now it’s finally here. When I spotted their shiny wide leaves and dirt-encrusted bulbs at the market, I burst into song (in my head of course). Come on, sing it with me…”We are the ramp-ions my friends and we’ll keep on…” well you get the picture.
Ramps are so great, or at least they have a great publicist. Probably took a page out of milk’s book or even pork’s book. Remember “the other white meat?” Now every fine dining establishment has some over-priced fatty pork entre.
But ramps are cooler than pork or milk. Let’s face it. Ramps are the hipsters of the vegetable world. I mean think about it. A few years ago no one had really heard of them. You’d maybe read the phrase in a Jack Kerouac novel or on a menu at a restaurant your weird friend took you too but you didn’t really know what it meant. If you aren’t following me, I’m comparing ramps to hipsters. They are ALL hype. Everyone wants ramps. They were at once so scarce and now they are EVERYWHERE. And because of ramps, rent prices have skyrocketed in all the nice up and coming neighborhoods in Brooklyn. So fuck ramps.
But really. Ramps are pretty good. As these are my first ramps of the season, I tried to treat them very well. So, I simply roasted em. These babies could be the star of any dish, so add them to salads, on top of burgers or to a pasta as I’ve done. Chimichurri is an herbal garlicky topping usually added to steaks in Argentina, but I love it so much I’m putting it on pasta.
Next week I’ll show you how to pickle em!!!
Makes 2 servings
You will need:
10-15 whole ramps
1/4 teaspoon rock salt (important)
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Preheat your oven to 370. On a large, flat metal baking sheet , toss the ramps until completely coated in olive oil and sprinkle with rock salt.
2. Roast for 15-17 minutes until the leaves just begin to get charred. You don’t want to burn them because they will taste like toast.
Chimichurri Pasta with Roasted Ramps and Tomatoes
You will need:
2 servings of roasted ramps (recipe above)
2 servings of spaghettini or spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 small cloves garlic
1 small Roma tomato (or 10 cherry tomatoes), finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
a squeeze of lemon
1. Boil a large pot of water for your pasta and cook the pasta until slightly more done than al dente. Useful note: I like my pasta cooked and when you are tossing pasta with a sauce like this one that doesn’t have much liquid, it’s important to get the pasta texture right because the pasta won’t take on additional moisture and soften.
2. Meanwhile in a food processor or blender, pulse the cilantro, parsley and garlic until finely chopped and then add the olive oil and vinegar. Taste the mixture – it will be very pungent and garlicky. Add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Mix the cooked pasta, ramps (give them a rough chop) and tomato together in a bowl. Toss to coat and serve. The garlic flavor of the chimichurri is INTENSE and this dish is even better 24 hours later.