A Love Affair With Ramps


I was planning on writing an entirely different post today about stupid tofu. Well, tofu isn’t stupid, but I messed up the recipe, so that’s why it’s stupid. But, that all changed when I made my dinner tonight. I decided to use up the ramps I bought this past Saturday at the farmers market-yup, bought them again. So I cooked up my bunch, and fell in love.

When I did my weekly farmers market shopping I couldn’t not buy ramps again. I enjoyed them so much last time and I was surprised how delicious (and versatile) they were. And they are only in season for such a short time that I can’t skip a week while they’re available! Now, that would just be mean. I asked the ramp lady how long they would be in season, and she said a week and a half longer. A week and a half!?! Well, that’s really only a week for me-what am I supposed to do with half a week? So, I only have one more week left to keep eatin’ my ramps. I only bought one bunch though. And I’m still not sure why…one week left and only one bunch!?! I make bad decisions sometimes. I should have bought their entire stock (that’s about 300 bunches). Yup.

I was planning on doing the exact same thing with them as I did last week-a quick saute with some bok choy. Easy peasy. But then I reached an epiphany-ramps in pasta! Yes! Simple yet delicious. A little different than what I did last week but still simple enough that the perfect flavor of the ramps wouldn’t be covered up or hidden. So I got cooking.

First off, I know this is so similar to how I cooked my ramps last week but I don’t care. Cause “I’m in love! I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!” (Elf? Anyone? Anyone? Crickets?) And second, this was such a delicious little dinner it deserves it’s own special post. Onto the cooking!

(I guess we can call this the recipe: Pasta with Ramps & Bok Choy) While I cooked a little bit of whole wheat pasta (when I make pasta, I like to put a lot of other stuff in and don’t like to weigh myself down with the pasta itself, so I tend to use only 1/4 cup or so), I cleaned (very well) the ramps, cut off the roots and chopped them up. I did use the greens this time and am gosh darn glad I did. So, I sauteed the ramps in a bit of olive oil and salt until mostly cooked. Then I added my baby bok choy (about 4 pieces, washed and cut in half vertically) to the pan with the ramps and cooked for about 5 more minutes. Yeah, I know, more bok choy. This isn’t a week for variety! But, this is another veg that I probably won’t be seeing much longer at the market, and it’s so good when it’s young…and cheap for such a crazy huge bag! Anyway, when the bok choy was all wilted down (but still bright and green) and the ramps were cooked (white part was mostly transparent and soft), I added quite a bit of pepper and the ultimate secret ingredient: lemon zest. I had a lemon in the fridge for making some more hummus and it just screamed at me when I opened up the fridge. I think it was a stroke of genius. I zested basically the entire lemon into the cooked ramps and bok choy and it was perfect. Truly perfect.

I was planning on putting half of the ramp/bok choy mixture in with the pasta and saving the other half for tomorrow night but I couldn’t resist. I used the entire thing. I mean it’s just veggies, right? My pasta was overflowing with ramps and bok choy-it’s kinda like I was eating veggies with a threw pieces of pasta thrown in. Not pasta with veggies. But, that’s how I like it. I finished it with a drizzle of my best, really high quality Spanish olive oil (my prize possession) and dug in. Mmmmmm. mmmmm. It’s. just. too. delicious. slobber. drool. The ramps are so good. Just as good as they were last week. I still can’t describe the flavor-subtle yet strong and very distinct. I don’t think there is anything like them. And that lemon? Wow-it brought out a freshness in the ramps that wasn’t there last time. And it totally brightened up the flavor. Super fresh. Super yum. Ramps-will you be my valentine?

It was such a simple dinner-when I started cooking it I thought it was going to be a throw together meal that didn’t deserve it’s own blog post. But it was just a perfect little meal highlighted the best of seasonal and simple eating. I mean-I wouldn’t eat this any other time of the year. It is a seasonal meal, made for May. And so perfect. So so perfect. And in a week and a half? Deep depression. Goodbye ramps! I’ll miss you. Next week I’m going to have to find a replacement veggie. Any contenders? Sugar snap peas are coming into season soon…I think I’ll be ok.



12 Responses to “A Love Affair With Ramps”

  1. 1 Meredith May 14, 2008 at 8:32 am

    After ramps we moved onto green garlic down here. It is currently my favorite market buy.
    It wasn’t at the market last week and even if it re-appears I’m sure it will be gone by the 2nd week of June. I’m hoping they have ramps or green garlic at Shaker Square this weekend, I’ll just buy some and bring them back.

  2. 2 Sarah May 14, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Betsy, I have a question. I just got a running injury in my ankle region, and I’m feeling your pain of not being able to go running (because I’m now in the same boat…blech..) I just took up biking today, and I’m trying my best to enjoy it but its just not the same as going out for an early morning run!

    Did you find that taking the time off lowered your endurance in running at all? I mean, obviously, you couldn’t go running and there was no choice if you wanted your knee to get better. But did it draw you back a lot?

    I’m kind of afraid I’ll take a few weeks off only to find that I die after a 6-miler. Or that I end up gaining a ton of weight because I don’t push myself as hard with biking as I do with running.

    Any tips or pointers?

    Sorry this is so long…glad to see your knee injury is getting better though! It motivates me to think that theres light at the end of the tunnel after all…:)

  3. 3 arielle May 14, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Damn. I saw them and I didn’t get any. I’m a total loser.

    Also, do you read Not Eating Out in NY? http://noteatingoutinny.com/ It’s awesome; if you don’t, you should.

  4. 4 VeggieGirl May 14, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Ahh, sorry about the tofu; but hey, that Pasta with Ramps & Bok Choy dish sounds (and looks) MUCH better than any tofu recipe, in my opinion – yum!!

    For your next vegetable, I’d say go with asparagus :0)

  5. 5 lindzakins921 May 14, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I’m so glad you included this as a blog post!! It’s well worth it 😉 It’s so fresh & vibrant looking and I’m sure just as yummy…

    I am the same way (well recently) with pasta and trying to add tons of veggie add-ins so I don’t feel overstuffed afterwards!

  6. 6 Romina May 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Are ramps like rapini? They look yummy@

  7. 7 ashley May 14, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I love when you begin your blogs saying that you messed up something. You take risks, and it definitely pays off! That recipe looks YUM!

  8. 8 Melissa May 15, 2008 at 9:16 am

    I don’t think they have ramps anywhere near me 😦 I’m in WI

  9. 9 Alice (in Veganland) May 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    oh! and I still don’t even know what ramps are… how boring!

  10. 10 maxpwnage May 15, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Tofu can really be good cooked well but sorry that it all got messed up. The Ramps look great though. Wouldn’t mind trying your recipe…

  11. 11 hk May 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    yes! i too visited the ramp lady at the union square market!!! these are truly amazing! I baked mine in the oven w/ cauliflower, red pepper flakes, a drizzle of olive oil, and LOVELY ramps!! YES, your recipe looks great too 🙂

  12. 12 Betsy May 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    yes, my endurance was lower. I kept up with other cardio (elliptical and spinning) but when I ran last week I had a hard time getting into my rhythm. I think it’s just going to take some time to get back into it but it won’t be too bad considering I haven’t slacked off in other areas of exercise. Just keep up with other stuff and getting back into running won’t be as hard!

    Get some tomorrow!!! I might get the sprouts you got last week. I always see the sprout guy but never buy any. Yeah-I love that site too.

    No. It’s in the onion family and kinda looks like scallions with broad leaves.

    yeah-I mess up the most with tofu. For some reason I have very little luck and it rarely turns out how its supposed to. But, I love taking risks in the kitchen! It makes cooking more fun.

    Go to a local farmers market and keep your eyes peeled for them. You never know!!!

    Go to thekitchn.com and search Ramps…they have a great description.

    yay!! they always have tons!

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