I feel a bit silly writing about these alliums when every single blog seems to be exploding with their excitement over the appearance of ramps at their local farmers market or Whole Foods. There are so many beautiful recipes out there featuring these signals of spring. I wish there were more than a few weeks in the ramp season so that I could try more preparations of these delicious wild plants with their unique flavor that can be described as a blend of onion and garlic. Unfortunately, like most things this season, they are fleeting (it’s suppose to go up to 90 degrees this week and it snowed last month- spring, where did you go?).
A weeks ago I went to the local farmers market in Falls Church. I had gone with the idea of taking a few photos of the spring produce and to grab a crepe for breakfast. It was full of people eager to soak up the long awaited spring sunshine and to buy the spring greens that had been missing during the winter market. I took no photos and the crepe stand was not there that Saturday, but I did joyously discover the presence of ramps in small stacks at several of the stands. I explained what ramps were to my friend that had graciously come with me, but as I practically jumped up and down with excitement over the chance to finally cook with ramps after my many years overseas, I overheard a conversation behind me that stopped me dead in my tracks.
“You know, I read an article in the paper the other day that said that hipsters LOVE ramps.” (See #14)
“What’s a hipster?”
My typical farmers market attire is what I had hastily thrown on that morning. Plaid shirt, jeans and my Converse sneakers. And my Warby Parker glasses. Eek.
“Hipster!” I accused myself of being, ashamed of my excitement over wild onions. I quickly walked away. My companion commented that I no longer seemed as enthusiastic about purchasing ramps as I had been just moments earlier.
(And for the record, kimchi might be a hipster food, but I was raised in a Korean home and it IS acceptable to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. See #10 of aforementioned article.)
I did eventually return to the stand to purchase my ramps and I enjoyed them thoroughly in this simple tart preparation. It made a great brunch with a nice green salad (is arugula hipster?). I also learned that grilled ramps smell and taste amazing. I hope that there are ramps at the market next weekend so that perhaps I can try this recipe. Thankfully it’ll be too hot for plaid.
- 1 bunch of ramps (about 12 stalks), roots trimmed
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
- 1 sheet of defrosted puff pastry
- handful of flour (for rolling out the pastry dough)
- ¾ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 eggs
- ⅓ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme
- zest of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the grill or grill pan on medium high. Toss the ramps in vegetable oil.
- Grill the ramps for about two minutes on each side until slightly charred and wilted. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, thyme, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste until blended well.
- Roll out the sheet of puff pastry into a rectangular shape of about 15 x 11 inches in size using a dusting of flour to prevent sticking to the surface and rolling pin.
- Carefully press it into a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish folding down the edges inward to create a basin about an inch deep.
- Spread grated cheese evenly on over pastry and lay the ramps on top of the cheese.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture over the cheese and ramps.
- Let the tart bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the egg is set and the pastry golden.