Salt and Pepper Ramps

I first tasted ramps five years ago. I had heard of them and read about them, but never managed to find them at the market when I searched for them. Then one spring day at the Union Square Market in New York City, shortly after we moved to an apartment in Gramercy, I spotted a table full of what appeared at first glance to be hairy purplish scallions. Bearded, gritty, and topped by long, tender green leaves, they looked like spring itself. I picked up two bunches, headed back to our kitchen, and washed (and washed) them. A brief toss with olive oil in a hot skillet, and we had an amazing side dish. I make sautéed ramps twice a week now, whenever the season is upon us. I have tried ramps in soups, sandwiches, pesto, and more… but my favorite way remains the simplest, as with most foods. I urge you to head to your local farmers’ market while you still can this year and get a fat bunch of ramps to sauté and savor.

Serves 2 as a side dish

  • 1 bunch ramps
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Wash the ramps several times under cool running water, using your fingers to dislodge any grit between the leaves and on the bulbs. Cut off the thin, hairy beards at the bottom of each bulb. Keep the pretty green leaves attached.

Blot the ramps dry on paper towels.

Toss the ramps with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a 12-inch nonstick skillet and set over medium-high heat. Sauté 5 minutes, tossing with tongs to cook evenly, or until the ramps are softened and browned in spots. Serve hot or at room temperature.