May 4, 2013, was the 2nd Annual Ramp Festival in Hudson, NY. Held at the Basilica, a reclaimed 19th century factory converted into a cool art/performance/production/event space, it drew 30 chefs from the Hudson Valley and New York City. The guest of honor: ramps.
Ramps — aka spring onions, ramsons, wild leeks, wild garlic.
It was a day of eating…ramps were featured in a seemingly endless array of dishes, all of which I sampled at least once. The feast included socca crepes with lamb tongue, grilled ramps, and romesco sauce; smoked bluefish with pickled ramps; charred ramp and Carolina rice custard with ramp pesto; ramp and duck tacos with tomatillo salsa; crawfish remoulade salad with hickory smoked ramps and sea island purple cape beans; wild blueberry flapjack sandwiches stuffed with maple ramp sausage; beef carpaccio with ramp coulis and pickled ramp; gin and ramp tonic; semolina and ramp biscuits with pulled rabbit and ramp agrodolce; and crispy morcilla topped with ramp kimchee and ramp ash — to name a few. Chef Rei Peraza from Panzur told me how to make the ramp ash, but my head was spinning from all the ramp dishes such that I have no recollection of what he said. Nonetheless, the ramp ash was creative and delicious.
After a great day of eating, I’ve come to the conclusion that the ramp’s subtle onion-garlic flavor is best appreciated when treated simply.
All I’ve done today is a quick scramble of eggs (with a few splashes of cream). The ramps were lightly sauteed, the eggs briefly whisked and added, and then the pan quickly pulled off the heat. The residual heat from the hot pan cooks the eggs, resulting in soft and creamy eggs. This is an easy preparation for scrambled eggs and a foolproof way to ensure your eggs are not overcooked. Also sauteed a few ramps — in olive oil, salt, and pepper — on their own because you can never have too many ramps on your plate.
This dish just screams “spring on a plate” — from the chive blossoms to the [purple and green] asparagus to the (duck) eggs, and even a few radish sprouts I grew on my windowsill (will be posting about microgreens soon). A French rosé to rounds things out.
Don’t you just love this time of year…
Love the vibrant, bright orange color of these yolks.
Here are a few photos I snapped of the event (when I wasn’t too busy stuffing my face)…
Any favorite ways to prepare/enjoy ramps?
Was so busy eating, I hardly shot any photos of the food itself; but, as you can see, quite the homage to ramps — in a really cool setting to boot.
Creamy Scrambled Eggs with Ramps and Chives
A couple thin slices of bread
Clove of garlic
3 extra-large or 4 large eggs (duck or chicken)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Extra virgin olive oil
5-6 ramps, roughly chopped into large pieces; thicker bulbs sliced in half length-wise
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
~1 tablespoon chopped chives (with blossoms, if available)
Lightly brush the bread with olive oil. Grill on both sides until lightly browned and crispy. Rub the grilled bread with a clove of garlic. Season with salt.
Crack the eggs into a bowl. Add the heavy cream and lightly whisk. Season with salt and pepper. Heat ~ 2 teaspoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the ramp bulbs and saute a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the green ramp leaves, season with salt and pepper, and saute another minute.Pour the eggs into the hot skillet, remove from the heat, and very gently scramble the eggs with a spatula until just set, but still a little runny. Sprinkle with the chopped chives and chive blossoms. Serve immediately with grilled bread.
Note: If ramps are not available, substitute with scallions, leeks, and/or shallots.