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All Things Ramps

It's starting to become ramp season in this part of the country--very exciting for this particular foodie.

I thought this thread could serve as a spot for people to discuss local menu items that might include ramps. But I'm also interested in where to buy them.

I frequent Dupont's Farmer's Market but have been traveling for the past few weeks. Does anyone know if they are for sale yet?

In terms of menu items, last spring Proof served ramps in their gnocchi dish. It was one of the best gnocchi dishes I've had in a long time (and that's saying a lot...gnocchi is one of my favorite foods.) Palena also included it in their consumme soup along with morrels. Mmmmm! I love the flavors of spring.

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  1. Elyssa, I have to confess that I have no idea what a ramp is. (Other than a horizontal, wedge-shaped thing that you use for wheelchairs.)

    Tell me...tell me!

    17 Replies
    1. re: Sean D

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_t...

      Sean--if you've never had them I suggest checking out a local restaurant that might be including them on their menu (hopefully you'll get some ideas from this thread). They are very popular in this region of the country.

      1. re: Elyssa

        Way cool!! Thanks for the link, Elyssa. I'm very intrigued by this. Yet, another food adventure for the summer.

        1. re: Sean D

          Make sure you hit Dupont market this weekend or next, ramps are an early spring treat. If you wait until summer you will miss your chance.

          I think the best way to discover ramps is to saute them and add them to an omelet. Assuming you are using good eggs, all you need is a bit of salt and you will be able to experience what a ramp really tastes like.

          1. re: pineapple sage

            I'll be out of town this weekend but hopefully they will have them the following weekend. I really want to try cooking with them this year.

      2. re: Sean D

        I'd understood that they're wild leeks. You might enjoy this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/511085 which I think includes a recipe from monavano, maybe the one mentioned below. I got one bunch at Dupont Farmers Market yesterday and was looking for recipes....

        1. re: mselectra

          They are wild onions, or wild leeks, very strong little onions, they grow in the mountains. Typically only on one side. In West Virginia and Western Maryland people search for them and guard their patches. You dig them up with a ramp hoe. They can be pretty strong and if you eat them raw you will sweat out the smell. Often if cows eat them you can taste it in their milk. They are very popular in West Virginia. And actually kind of a rural country thing. My family gets a big kick out of the fact that "city folk" now are into ramps. They can't believe restaurants serve them.

          1. re: ktmoomau

            They have a ramp festival in West Virginia. It reeks! ;)

            1. re: ktmoomau

              Ramps grow here (central Indiana). No mountains. We love them in just about everything. To keep their flavor going longer, I make ramp compound butter, infuse white wine vinegar with them, and pickle the stems. Pickled ramps are amazing!

              1. re: pikawicca

                hi, I live in muncie in. are these ramps the same thing as the little wild onions that you find growing around, they are real strong smelling but dont have as big as blades on them or are these different, I would like to find some to try if there different than wild onions, do they grow in my area. any help would be appreciated, thanks also, do you know if the fiddleheads grow in this area too, thanks Michael

                1. re: flavrmeistr

                  There is a vineyard in WV that makes a ramp wine. It's as foul as it sounds.

                  1. re: reiflame

                    Ok that is amazingly vile, but can you recall the vineyard? That might make the perfect *ahem* gift for someone I know. Will Google and see if I can find it.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      There is a garlic festival in California and there is always garlic wine and garlic ice cream. Some things are NOT made better by garlic.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        I think it's Kirkwood Winery. They generally show up to the Mountain Heritage Festival in Harpers Ferry.

                        I pity your "friend"!

                          1. re: Steve

                            The "60 day fermented in the tub" is nice.

            2. My families ramp feed was last weekend, so the farmers market that stock from WV should have them soon, if not already.

              1. Ramps are basically like spring onions-they add onion flavor, have a bulbous portion (which is small this time of year) and a plume-like leaf. If you've ever smelled onion grass, you will have an idea what rams are like.
                At Dupont, Spring Valley has them for $5 a bunch, and at the Old Town Alexandria market, Bigg Riggs had them for $4 a bunch.
                Yesterday, I made my chicken thighs with Ramps and Morels in a White Wine Cream sauce again.
                http://houndstoothgourmet.com/braised...

                6 Replies
                1. re: monavano

                  How about in the Baltimore area...does the Waverly Market have them? I've never tried them and want to!

                  1. re: crosby_p

                    Planet Produce in Belvedere Square had them last year. You'll have to ask for them.

                    1. re: crosby_p

                      Whole Foods had them this week. They looked average.

                      1. re: crosby_p

                        ..but tastes great! It had a nice firm texture, oniony bulb and almost sweet mild leaf, not at all fibrous.

                      2. re: monavano

                        "chicken thighs with Ramps and Morels in a White Wine Cream sauce" ?!

                        Wow, I think that either you are a great mountain gleaner, or the chicken thighs were the cheapest ingredient. I'm impressed you found both morel mushrooms and ramps around the city.

                        About ramps: Back when I lived in western NC, I had a friend who had grown up in Henderson, NC, home of a local spring ramp festival. She told me that back in her elementary school days, pulling and eating a ramp in the morning was an easy way to get the rest of the day off from school. The teacher would send a kid home.

                        1. re: consaacs

                          Way late reply to this post, but...The morels are pricey, but a little goes a long way. I get my ramps for pretty cheap from a producer in W. VA. I expect to see them any week now.
                          Any, ramps get stronger as they grow. About a month into ramp season when they are larger and pungent, you really can smell them coming out of your pores.
                          I get 'em while their small now.

                      3. DO NOT EAT THEM RAW! You and the people around you will regret it. But...sauteed or grilled are quite tasty. Wholefoods in Annapolis had them 4/11.

                        1. Wow, I absolutely feared ramps as a kid growing up in WV. I recall that we usually had them with fried potatoes for breakfast or sauteed with greens at dinner . They've not even crossed my mind the past couple years I've been back in the area but now I will certainly be on the look out and I look forward to seeing what I can do with them.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: WestN

                            Yummy..and only a true foodie would post about this baby leek. haven't seen them yet at the market in DuPont, only had ones that are hydroponically grown from greenhouses, in restaurants, as an acoompaniment. with roasted chicken, parsnip puree, red wine reduction, and the ramps...

                            1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                              Spring Valley has had them for $5 a bunch the past two weeks. They are under the big red awning next to the crab cake stand.

                              http://www.freshfarmmarket.org/farmer...

                          2. The ramps lovers on this board may appreciate knowing that the first garlic sprouts of the season have arrived at Peking Gourmet Inn (PGI).

                            Last night was our once-a-year visit to PGI since we were shopping at the Bailey's REI. We arrived knowing we wanted to order shrimp with garlic sprouts. Only when the dish was served were we informed that this was the sprouts second day of availability and that the season lasts only two weeks.

                            The rest of our meal included leek dumplings and moo shi chicken. Solid but not transcendent food.

                            1. they had lots of ramps on sunday.

                              I personally do not like them at all, but they did have them.

                              1. In general, ramps are just coming into season this year, and IMO, this is the best time to buy them. As they grow, they get stronger. You won't smell like onions are oozing from your every pore....yet. But, once the ramps get bulbs and grow larger, they will become quite potent.
                                This is what ramps from W. VA look like right about now-see pic below

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: monavano

                                  sorry...the first pic I tried to load was too big. Here's young ramps below.....

                                   
                                2. We split some posts on how to cook ramps off to a new thread on the Home Cooking board. You can find that topic here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/611999

                                  1. Elyssa, just read on another thread 2Amys has a special pizza with ramps. Don't know how long they will have it.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: ktmoomau

                                      Ooooo thanks for letting me know.

                                      Anyone else know about any menu items?

                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                        We ahve romp and Verpa mushroom (a type of false or early morel) risotto at Dino.

                                        1. re: deangold

                                          Sounds delicious. How long to you think you will have that for?

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            As long as they are available. We will probably go to ramps and local asparagus at the end of the month. With or without the Verpas. I recall getting ramps thru June last year.

                                    2. Proof has grilled ramps on the menu as a side dish. Unfortunately I cannot tell you if they were any good because although I ordered them, service was a little spotty and they never brought the order out.

                                      1. Nicaro in Silver Spring had them in the soup of the day (I believe with morels), and sauteed as a side with the halibut entree this week.

                                        14 Replies
                                          1. re: daves_32

                                            not yet...I was expecting they would be from a farm in WVA, but not yet.

                                            1. re: monavano

                                              At Dupont Farmers Market yesterday they were saying two weeks.

                                              1. re: mselectra

                                                Well, I think I am going to Palena tomorrow night for a dinner in the front room. As always, I will get the consomme and see what they have found through their suppliers.

                                                -----
                                                Palena
                                                3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                                                1. re: daves_32

                                                  West coast ramps have started so you might get lucky!

                                                  1. re: daves_32

                                                    Ohhh the Spring consomme at Palena is so amazing! When it's morel and ramp season they throw it all in there...incredible. It's like spring time in a bowl.

                                                    -----
                                                    Palena
                                                    3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                      No consumme Friday night but there was an amazing mushroom leek soup.

                                                      1. re: pineapple sage

                                                        The consomme was on the menu (labeled April) last night. It had sweet breads in it and spring vegetables. I asked the waiter what the vegetables were and he said he didn't know. so I said asparagus and he said he thought that was all that was in there.

                                                  2. re: mselectra

                                                    Still pretty barren in the higher elevations, despite the unseasonable heat.

                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                      Well they still have a melting snow in the mountains, and it has been super rainy until recently so probably are a little later than normal.

                                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                                        I can tell you they are now at their peak at the lower elevations (near DC for example).

                                                        1. re: a1234

                                                          I saw some reviews of the Dupont Farmers market yesterday that said ramps were available there. Would we expect then that they will hit restaurants this week?

                                                          1. re: daves_32

                                                            Don't know about how it affects restaurant availability, but I can confirm that they were also available at the Old Town market over the weekend. So it does seem to be ramps season locally.

                                                            1. re: sweth

                                                              Atlantic Sea Bass served with purple asparagus and ramps at Palena!

                                                              -----
                                                              Palena
                                                              3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

                                            2. I should have reported a few weeks ago, but Lyon Hall had all sorts of leek preparations on their menu.