The word on the street is: “Ramps.” “It’s ramp season,” people will say. “You better buy them now: they don’t last long.”
So on this obviously bountiful trip to the farmer’s market (see two posts below this), I couldn’t ignore the several stands selling ramps to innocent bystanders like me. I chose a bunch with large bulbs and then saw, next to the ramps, another crate filled with green garlic. A bell went off in my head: the Chez Panisse cookbook is filled with references to green garlic. So I bought some of that too. Here are the ramps and green garlic relaxing in my kitchen:
Ramps, I have learned, are leek like oniony bulbs that make in appearance in early spring. Green garlic is garlic in its early stage and Alice Waters goes nuts for it. “I go nuts for it!” she probably says in the Chez Panisse introduction. “Me loves me some green garlic.”
Another blog (which I found, I believe, by clicking comments–so this was a frequent commenter’s blog) had a recipe for a pasta with ramps. I interpreted it my way and filled a saute pan with olive oil, heated it up, and then added sliced ramps and green garlic and some crushed red pepper:
When the ramps were cooked through, I tossed in fresh cooked spaghetti that was still al dente (Mario Batali says it should be “just before done” when you add it to the condiment):
I tossed it all through and then added the ramp leaves which I cut just a bit. They wilted like spinach as this source blogger said they would.
Served on a plate using the method I learned from Lydia Bastianich (see: cooking shows on television make TV-watching worthwhile) of twisting the pasta around with your tongs so it makes something of a bird’s nest. I grated lots of parmesan on top and here it is for you to soak in with your eyes:
A seasonal spring dish that would make any average person sing the praises of ramps and green garlic. They gave a nice crunch and a nice subtle flavor to the end product. I knew I’d done well because the condiment didn’t overwhelm the pasta–as Mario says: “The spaghetti is the star of the dish.” (He compares saucing a pasta to putting mustard on a hot dog: you’d never put more mustard than there was hot dog, would you? So you shouldn’t put more sauce than there is pasta.)
If anyone out there has other favorite uses for ramps and green garlic, let me know! I wanna get rampy with it.