Ramps, the wild leeks native to the forests of eastern North America, are one of the first edible plants to break through the soil in the early spring. Prized for their mild, garlicky flavor, they also have a relatively short season. As such, they’ve been bestowed food-world celebrity status (as far as produce is concerned) and can be challenging to source, whether you’re foraging ramps yourself or picking them up at the farmers’ market.
Along with asparagus, ramps are the hallmark of spring cooking. After weathering winter with hearty root vegetable recipes and warming soup recipes, you’ll be relieved to rotate your produce for new seasonal ingredients. We’re obsessed with ramps cooked, simply, in oil, but they also go so well with eggs. The little guys are incredibly versatile in sauces and salads, but when you need something a little more substantial, look no further than ramp pizza. Preserve your ramps as pickles so you can reach for the allium year round. From escabeche to beurre blanc, here are the very best dishes to get your ramp fix this spring.
Garlicky grilled ramps soak up the vinegary tang of the escabeche sauce, and because of the light pickling, can keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two months. Get the recipe for Ramp Escabeche » Matt Taylor-Gross
Pizza with Ramps, Morels, and Eggs
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Ramp and Wild Greens Pesto
Fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz makes this punchy pesto to capture the essence of spring. Chickweed, a spicy herb, is his green of choice to pair with ramps, to which he adds mild herbs and sunflower seeds, but you can replace chickweed with watercress, arugula, or any other peppery green. The same goes for the ramps—this pesto works just as well with spring onions or garlic. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, and Katz uses it throughout the day: on grits or eggs for breakfast, slathered on sandwiches for lunch, and tossed with potatoes or pasta for dinner. Get the recipe for Ramp and Wild Greens Pesto » Matt Taylor-Gross
Chef Hugh Acheson gave us the recipe for this simple, savory jam, featured in his cookbook The Broad Fork. It’s perfect for serving with shaved pork loin or steak and eggs, or simply spooned on toast. Get the recipe for Ramp Jam » Matt Taylor-Gross
Pickling is a great way to preserve ramps, the wild spring onions that overflow at the market for a few weeks each spring. Their garlicky flavor combined with a vinegar kick adds a bright punch to all sorts of dishes. Get the recipe for Pickled Ramps » Anna Stockwell
White Cheddar Grits with Grilled Ramps
Bacon and Ramp Vinaigrette
Salmon with Green Olive and Ramp Beurre Blanc
Grilled Zucchini with Ramp Aioli
Ramp and Mushroom Tart