Celebrating Springs Arrival with Ramps

Celebrating Springs Arrival with Ramps

Ah, spring has finally sprung! Can you just feel the excitement in the air? The days are getting longer, the birds are chirping, and the once-barren trees are bursting with vibrant new life. And you know what that means? It’s ramp season, baby!

The Elusive (and Alluring) Ramp

Now, if you’re like me, you may have heard the term “ramp” thrown around before, but perhaps you’re a little fuzzy on the details. Allow me to enlighten you, my friend. Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a type of wild onion native to the forests of eastern North America. They’ve got a distinct, pungent flavor that’s been described as a cross between garlic and onion, with a subtle sweetness that’ll make your taste buds do a little happy dance.

These little green wonders start to push their way through the still-chilly soil as soon as the snow starts to melt, signaling the arrival of spring. And for those of us who live and breathe food, their emergence is the stuff of pure joy. I mean, can you even imagine the culinary possibilities?

Foraging for Ramps

Of course, the real trick is getting your hands on these elusive beauties. That’s where the thrill of the hunt comes in! Ramp foraging has become something of a rite of passage for the food-obsessed. It’s like a grown-up version of an Easter egg hunt, except the prizes are far more delicious (and a lot harder to find).

I’ll never forget my first ramp foraging expedition. My buddy Jared and I set out into the woods, armed with nothing but our keen eyes and a whole lot of determination. We trudged through the underbrush, scanning the forest floor for those telltale broad, green leaves. And just when we were about to give up hope, there they were – a cluster of ramps, hiding in plain sight, just waiting to be plucked.

The rush of triumph was unreal. It was like we had unlocked some secret, ancient knowledge. We carefully harvested our precious finds, grinning from ear to ear, already dreaming of all the ways we could put them to use.

Cooking with Ramps

And let me tell you, once you’ve got those ramps in your possession, the culinary possibilities are endless. Sautéed with a little butter and garlic? Heavenly. Tossed into a frittata or quiche? Perfection. Blended into a pesto to slather on your favorite pasta? Fuggedaboutit.

At my restaurant, Camperdown Elm, we go absolutely ramp-crazy when they’re in season. I mean, how could we not? These fleeting green gems are the very embodiment of springtime, and we’re not about to let them go to waste.

One of my personal favorite ramp-centric dishes is our Ramp and Ricotta Ravioli. We make the pasta dough from scratch, then fill it with a luscious blend of ricotta, Parmesan, and, of course, freshly foraged ramps. Topped with a simple lemon-butter sauce and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs, it’s the kind of dish that’ll make you weep tears of joy.

Celebrating the Ramp

But ramps aren’t just about the food, my friends. They’re a symbol of the changing seasons, a harbinger of warmer days and fresh beginnings. And here in Brooklyn, we take our ramp celebrations very seriously.

Every spring, the good folks at the Camperdown Elm host a ramp-centric festival that’s the stuff of legend. We’re talking ramp-infused cocktails, ramp-topped pizzas, ramp-filled pastries – you name it, we’ve got it. And of course, the main event is our ramp foraging expedition, where brave souls can venture into the woods and try their hand at harvesting these elusive delicacies.

It’s a feast for the senses, to be sure. The air is thick with the heady aroma of ramps, mingling with the earthy scent of the forest. The sounds of laughter and clinking glasses fill the air, as friends and neighbors come together to celebrate the arrival of spring.

And let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the sense of accomplishment you feel when you finally bite into that first ramp-laden dish of the season. It’s like a symphony of flavors, a taste of the earth itself. It’s a reminder that the world is alive and bursting with possibility, and that good things are worth waiting for.

So, my fellow ramp enthusiasts, I invite you to join us at the Camperdown Elm this spring. Come forage with us, feast with us, and bask in the glory of these verdant springtime treasures. After all, the ramps won’t be around forever – so let’s make the most of it while we can!