Crunchy Buttermilk Fried Ramps

P1040191Folks in the Northeast get very excited when the first edibles start to sprout.  Ramps beat out Asparagus by a good couple of weeks, so the near hysteria about them can sometimes seem little over-the-top.  Wild leeks that grow in the moist soil of forest floors, they usually start to appear in early May.  The above picture was taken near my friends Ansell’s country house.  A short 15 minutes walk away from his place is a stream surrounded by forest   where we hit the ramp jackpot.

Historically my favorite way of preparing ramps is to pickle them and serve them with a cheese course.  As an added bonus the pickling juice can be used in a ramped-up martini ( 2 oz Gin, 3/4 oz dry vermouth, 1/4 oz pickled ramp brine).

Ramps almost make a mean Pesto.  If you search the internet you will find dozens of  ingenious ways to use this first seasonal treat.  My new favorite way of cooking Ramps is to give them the onion ring treatment.  Dredging them in flour makes them crispy so I prefer it to making a batter, but both are delicious.

This is a particularly good recipe to make now when Ramps are nearly over and much bigger.

Crunchy Buttermilk Fried Ramps

Trim, wash and dry 1 pound of Ramps, removing all the greens (reserve for another purpose).

In a medium size bowl pour in 1 1/2 cups of Buttermilk and add the prepared Ramps.IMG_1083Let them soak for about 10 minutes, in the meantime in another medium bowl mix together: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

Dredge the soaked Ramps in the flour a few at a time being carefulness to get the flour too wet or it will clump up and you’ll need to make more.IMG_1084Preheat non-flavored oil like Safflower, organic Canola or Sunflower in a cast iron skillet.  The oil should be about an inch deep.  Heat until hot, but not smoking (325 F).  Cook the prepared ramps until well browned on each side — 2 to 3 minutes per side.IMG_1085 When browned remove ramps to paper towel lined surface.  Place cooked Ramps on a serving plate, garnished with hot sauce, Maldon salt and fresh lemon wedges. IMG_1086 I used my friend Michael’s home-made Habanero carrot hot sauce but Tabasco is a fine substitute.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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4 Responses to Crunchy Buttermilk Fried Ramps

  1. nycmrm says:

    YUM! And who is this Michael friend of yours? He seems like a real catch. Is he available?

  2. cbcreates says:

    Great idea that I have hever considered! Thanks for that. Sadly, Asheville ramps are over, so this makes me nostalgic. Such a fleeting moment in time. Hey, next time add some mayo to that leftover buttermilk and make Buttermilk Ramp Ranch for dipping!

    • urbanfoodguy says:

      OMG what a brilliant idea! There is always leftover buttermilk and I hate throwing it away — buttermilk ranch here I come! I think these would work great with spring onions given how brief the Ramp season is!

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