Ahhhh, stinky yet delicious!
A true “delicacy” of odoriferous proprotions!
The “sultan” of “smell!”
Known for everything from a spring tonic to cleanse the blood and help to lowering cholesterol…to the ability to make the basic fried potato a gourmet delight worthy of Emeril Lagasse himself.
RAMPS…but just what the heck is a RAMP? or “Allium Tricoccum” …it’s official name
Is it an onion? Is it garlic? Is it an onion wanting to be a leek when it grows up?
The white part – definitely onion like…the leaves, well – more like the green onion part on steroids!
The smell – ummmm kind of like an onion – on MAJOR steroids – you know, the Roger Clemons of the onion world!
Technically…it is a wild leek…or a wild onion…or wild garlic…see, it doesn’t even know what the heck it is!
But…it grows wild – usually in “secret spots” – and they aren’t available for long…usually in April – “just look for a big pile and dig deep” they say!
Ramps grow in higher elevations – and usually in clumps of 5 or 6. The leaves are about 10″ long and have a distinctive red seam down the center. You can eat the WHOLE thing – well, except for the roots! The leaves are rich in minerals and contribute to the “health” benefits of a diet of ramps. Plus…the smell will help keep all the bad things away as well…maybe.
My friend Kristian recently went diggin’ for ramps…
And then his mom fixed a typical meal of fried potatoes, ramps and ham…..Yummmmmy!
West Virginia is known for its Ramp Festivals…where you’ll find dishes such as these – along with beans, cornbread, and maybe pickled eggs!
And…ramps are now turning up at all the “posh” restaurants as well!
Kristian brought me a “mess” of ramps – that’s an official cooking term you know!
After I cleaned the ramps…I sautéed them – leaves and all – in some olive oil and butter – as I was out of bacon fat and lard that day…then I tossed in the potatoes and fried them all together! WOW – I’m officially a “Ramp Lover” now!
They have a kind of sweet taste…not like candy of course…but that sweet onion kind of flavor…but better! And…cooked, you don’t get the smell that they have when raw. But even raw…the odor is a good smell – if you like garlic and onions that is!
Here at The Vintage Lady – we carry some great WV made foods that feature ramps! Including our number one best seller – Ramp Mustard! The ramps used in this tasty condiment come from a secret spot near Elkins, WV.
Slather (another technical cooking term) some mustard on a ham sandwich….have some ramps and fried potatoes along side of it…and I am pretty sure your blood will be cleansed, your cholesterol lowered…and your taste buds will be saying “more ramps please!”
In case you want to get all wild and crazy with your ramp dishes…we even have an official Ramp Cookbook!
So…the next time someone asks you “What the heck is a RAMP” – you’ll be able to share with them the real facts about this odoriferous wild plant that “ramps up” any recipe it comes in contact with!