first ramps of the year

grilled ramps

first ramps of the year
i plan to try making many dishes with ramps this year like risotto, quiche, soup–anything i might use leeks for and more. because they are also referred to as wild leeks, after all, and their flavour sits somewhere between leeks, onions and young garlic. but since the small bunch i grabbed last week was my first of the year, i wanted to have them more purely to really enjoy their taste. this is not really a recipe. it’s too easy to be called that. it’s just a play-by-play of my dinner last thursday: grilled ramps, leeks, asparagus and grilled bread too, with soft pungent cheese (almost everything i ate that night was pretty pungent actually) and of course some olives and pickled chillies.
ramps, ramembert, herb bread
first, i went to the market and grabbed some fresh ramps, raw “ramembert” (sheep’s camembert by eweda), and some gorgeous sun-dried tomato, garlic and herb bread. then i fished a leek and some asparagus from my fridge. i chopped off and discarded the hard, unusable parts (dark green leek tops, ramp roots, tough asparagus bases), split the leeks down the middle, washed everything. dried everything. sliced the bread. and with the ramps…
grilling ramps... ...and ramp leaves
i cut those in 3: the white bulb from the red stalks, stalks from the green leaves, because each part is more delicate than the last so they will cook at different speeds. i brushed all of the vegetables and the bread with a faint coating of extra virgin olive oil. i set a grill pan over medium-high heat and when it was heated, i brushed it with oil too. and then grilled, in order of toughness–leeks, ramp bulbs, asparagus first. when they were done, the bread and ramp stems (which i don’t think a lot of people eat but i just let them cook till soft and i enjoyed them), and finally the ramp leaves which also get some nice char marks, but only take a second to turn bright green and soften.
a (pungent!) grilled dinner
all the grilled vegetables on one platter, platter on the table, grilled bread, room-temperature soft, smelly cheese, olives, pickled hot peppers. oh, and wine. obviously. i could definitely eat this way on market day, every week till fall. more real recipes with ramps to come–quickly, since they won’t be around for long. get some fast!