The ramp season was a bit later this year because of the much cooler spring. But ramp enthusiasts patiently waited for the tender greens to reach their prime. Also referred to as the spring onion, wild leek or wild garlic, this spring plant peaks in May. Both the tender greens and the bulb are edible. The greens will eventually die off, so they are best as new shoots.
We have enjoyed ramps for a few years now but our harvest is always in Ontario and done on properties with permission. Picking ramps in Quebec is illegal since the Quebec government declared ramps an endangered species in 1995. So no surprise that there is now a black market. Not only are pickers skulking about in the middle of the night in La Belle Provence, poachers are also trespassing on Ontario properties where ramps are growing abound. Ramps can be over-harvested, thus ruining the ramp bed. Conscientious pickers will limit their harvest to less than a third of the clump.
I have heard that a single ramp stem can sell for as much as $1. This makes the black market business very lucrative. Certainly quick money for the month of May.
The Ottawa Citizen published an article recently on this ramp fever.
Again this year we were hosted by good friends at the 4th Annual Rampfest. The crowd of 40 some not only enjoy ramps, they enjoy good food and good company.
All dishes, except for the desserts, have ramps incorporated into them in some fashion. Some brought tried and true favourites, while others tried their hand at a new creation. No matter what dish we had, none of us seemed to grow weary of the allium tricoccum bounty.
*** APPETIZERS ***
Ramp, Bacon, Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Bread
Bacon Ramp Terrine with Beef, Foie Gras & Mushrooms
Maritime Seafood Chowder with Double Smoked Bacon & Ramps
Bouillabaisse Terrine with Ramp Rouille
Ramp Stuffed Chicken Thighs
Gambas with Ramps and Gnocchi
Chorizo with Pickled Ramps
*** MAIN COURSE ***
Ramp & Maple Syrup Marinated Beef Tenderloin with Ramp & Horseradish Mayo
Salmon Poached in White Wine & Ramp Leaves
Ramp & Cucumber Salad
German Potato Salad with Ramp Dressing
*** DESSERTS ***
4-Biter World Famous Butter Tarts [recipe included here]
Cheeses with Ramp Jelly & Fruit [no picture]