Cooking up Ramps

Unlike most other members of the onion family, ramps not only have pungent bulbs, but also leaf-shaped shoots that can be eaten as greens—torn into shreds for salads or cooked like spinach. In Helvetia, ramp leaves are parboiled to wilt them and drained; then they're chopped and fried in rendered bacon fat, with some cracklings added, until they cook down and lose most of their color. If you prefer yours cooked a little less, try this variation:

Separate the bulbs from the leaves, and cook the bulbs in a little bacon fat and water until they're tender. You don't need to parboil the leaves (unless you plan to freeze them), just chop them and add them to the pan, wilting them in the bacon fat. Finally, crumble in some bacon, continue cooking until the ramps are tender and the liquid is absorbed, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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