So this is an extremely belated post, but I can’t bring myself to be too bothered, because I want these moments recorded for posterity (surely 2000 years from now historians will find my thoughts intriguing).
I turned twenty a few days ago, and I was lucky enough to spend the night of my blessed birth celebration at a local farm I adore, with a bunch of people I adore! The Food Justice Club walked over (like the environmentally conscious individuals we strive to be) to Little Grasse Foodworks, where we dug wild leeks in the woods, cooked up some grub, and feasted like the kings and queens we pretend to be.
First, Flip led us off into the woods, where ramps were sprouting up in a giant patch of emerald green. After harvesting a giant bucket, we headed back to the farmhouse and cleaned them off:
They were washed and sauteed, and served alongside curried pork meatballs and roasted root veggies. It was a truly glorious meal, made even better by excellent company.
And THEN, as if it couldn’t have gotten better, I was surprised with the single best birthday cake ever. A fruit and avocado platter. They made me a fruit and avocado platter! These people (specifically Emlyn and Caeleigh) seriously get me.
But enough of that, let’s talk ramps/ wild leeks/ onions OF THE GODS. These things are incredible. They’re sweet, they’re onion-y and garlic-y without being overpowering. They’re also sneaky little things, with a short growing season and lots of demands for soil conditions. If you’re lucky enough to have access to these babies, find a way to get your hands on them. Beg, borrow, sell your as of yet unborn (or pesky teenager) child. They are worth it.
Vinegar ( we used lemon-verbena because that’s what Flip had made- you heard right, MADE – and what was available. I believe a dash of apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar would also be pretty outstanding)
Clean your ramps. The easiest way to do this is cut off the roots and push the slimy membrane off the end. Then rinse in cold water. After they shine (like the top of the Chrysler building! Annie reference, anyone?), cut off the white bottoms and roughly chop. Take the green tops and also roughly chop.
Heat up a skillet of some sort and put in a pat of butter and a glug of olive oil when its hot. Add your ramp bottoms and let them cook for about a minute. Ramps don’t need a lot of time, so err on the side of too little time if necessary. Once they’ve cooked a bit, add in your ramps greens and let them cook down until wilted, stirring occasionally. Add a glug of vinegar when you’re almost done, a sprinkling of salt, and serve.
NOTE: We were cooking a giant batch, so we ended up putting a lid on the pan to speed up wilting time. If you’re cooking a small amount, don’t bother. But if the pan seems crowded, a splash of the vinegar or just a little water plus a loose cover will help the greens cook down.
Also, this could certainly be jazzed up. Add some garlic, mix in leeks, get a little crazy and add white wine! But these precious little plants are so flavorful and unique I like to let them be the star.