So what do I do with the ramps?
I came up with this last week, and it couldn't be much easier or more delicious:
Spaghetti with Anchovies and Ramps
1 bunch ramps, 5-6 ounces, well rinsed, trimmed,
outer skins slipped off the bulbs
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
2.8-ounce bottle of anchovies, drained, rinsed, and chopped
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 lb spaghetti
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, adding the salt along the way. Blanch the ramps in the boiling water for 2 to 3 seconds, and transfer them to a cutting board with tongs. Coarsely chop the ramps and set them aside.
Make the breadcrumbs: Melt the butter 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and shake the pan and stir until the crumbs are nice and toasty, 4-5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a bowl large enough to keep the crumbs from steaming. Wipe out the saucepan.
In the same saucepan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil slides easily across the skillet, add the shallots and a good grinding of black pepper. After a few minutes, before the shallots take on any color, add the chopped anchovies. Stir the mixture until the anchovies have more or less dissolved. Add the vermouth and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the ramps and lemon zest and remove the mixture from heat.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, then ladle out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and add it to the ramp mixture. Tilting the saucepan, puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.
Continue to cook the spaghetti until al dente. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and toss with the ramp purée over moderate heat 1 to 2 minutes. Serve promptly, passing the bowl of crumbs for sprinkling. (Some people don’t like crumbs on their pasta.)
Yield: 4 servings