Ramps are in the onion family. They shoot up wild in the woods across the eastern US early each spring. If you live in a big city, you might know when ramp season is because all of a sudden ramps seem to appear on the menu of just about every restaurant in town. But before they became the darling of hip chefs, they were important to folks who depended on foraging to get enough food for the year. To preserve the brief bounty they’d pickle any extras.
I know, a jar of pickled onions might sound like a stretch. But while the aroma is sharp, these ramps from Blackberry Farm in eastern Tennessee have a flavor that's rich and sweet like roasted garlic. Toss them into sauces, with roasted or grilled meats
, over pasta
. Or serve them straight up alongside cured meats
for a killer appetizer spread.
"[Ramps are] like that elusive thing — the bad boyfriend, the jazzy car of the vegetable world."
Dana Corwin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine