Farmers Market Report: March (Ramp) Madness Edition

by March 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm 2,613 1 Comment

"Borderstan" "Markets"

Ramps combine the flavors of onions and garlic into one vegetable.  (Stephanie Willis)

From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT], follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.

Ramps have become the Holy Grail of spring produce, signaling the start of the lovely market season. Farmers market shoppers go into a frenzy when ramps are first spotted on vendor tables. Word spreads like wildfire through the foodie community, almost like Paul Revere announcing the coming of the British army. And before you know it, ramps are on every seasonal restaurant menu in the area.

Somehow the little buggers even sneak into our desserts!  It’s almost like March Madness, but instead of brackets, we have wild leeks. I must admit when I first discovered ramps, I too obsessively stalked the markets for their arrival. I should probably apologize to every farmers market vendor for my constant nagging.

But I was transfixed by the marvelous symphony of garlic and onions composed in this simple little wild vegetable. Being able to combine some of my favorite flavors (garlic and onions) into one was almost too much for me to bear. Before I knew it, I was collecting ramp recipes like they were going out of style.

Rampin’ Recipes

Over the years, I have found some ramp recipes I really love and treasure. So in the spirit of the Foodie March Madness (for ramps), I present my “bracket” of championship ramp recipes.

  • Ramp pesto is almost a no brainer since you have both the garlic and the green component all in one lovely package. And since I tend to use walnuts in almost all of my pestos, this Wild Ramp Pesto recipe won a place in my ramp bracket last year. Try this pesto as the base for a grilled pizza if you are a big garlic lover (like me!)
  • I’m a Southern girl at heart and in the South, we love our biscuits and our pork. So you can imagine my glee upon discovering The Garden Apartment’s Ramp and Ham Buttermilk Biscuits recipe. These biscuits don’t need much build up or explanation. It’s ham. Folded into a buttermilk biscuit. With ramps. Why you’re not at your counter making them now is beyond me.
  • At least once during the ramp season, I bust out this Ramp Risotto recipe because it’s simply divine. Risotto is not as intimidating as it seems. It just takes a wee bit of patience and if I (the queen of the short attention span) can do it, anyone can do it.
  • Remember that ramp pesto recipe a few bullet points up? Remember to save 1/4 cup of it for this Ramp Pesto Mac and Cheese. Being a cheese hound, this recipe immediately caught my eye a few years ago. Even though I am almost always trying to eat healthier by the time ramp season rolls around, I still make an exception for this recipe. Once you’ve tried it, you will too.
  • I had no idea what a gnudi was until I stumbled upon this recipe for Gnudi with Ramps and Brown Butter Sauce. As Homesick Texan explained, gnudi is similar to gnocchi but with ricotta instead of potatoes. I don’t care what you call them, just make sure to give this recipe a try.
  • Finally, I present to you Ramp Crêpes. I love savory crêpes, so adding ramps to the batter seemed only natural. I tend to stuff these ramp crepes with sautéed mushrooms and shredded Gruyère cheese for an amazing crêpe sandwich. Feel free to add your favorite ingredients to these divine crêpes.

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled at Dupont Circle Farmers Market this Sunday for ramps. And get there early. People like me are cut throat when it comes to ramps.

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