You may not have heard of this early spring vegetable, but ramps are all the rage at the farmer's market this time of year. With a mellow garlicky flavor and a texture similar to scallions, ramps make a great addition to any spring menu. Use them in any dish that calls for scallions, such as a stir fry, soup or grain salad. The leaves, which are broader and more substantial than the green tops of scallions, are also delicious in leafy green salads. My favorite way to eat ramps is to simply sauté them in olive oil and serve them as a side for grilled chicken or steak. Their mild garlicky flavor and light spinach-like texture is a nice contrast to a smokey grilled protein.
Ramps are available at farmer's markets in the north and south east during April and through May. They generally cost $4-5 per bunch at New York City farmer's markets, but I have seen them for as much as $11.99 per pound at Whole Foods (pays to shop at the farmer's markets!). Look for ramps with fresh green tops without blemishes and pass on the wilted bunches. They are grown in soil so you will need to clean them well before cooking; I use a salad spinner to soak the greens in water, dump out the dirty water, rinse with clean water and spin to remove some of the excess moisture. Look for a recipe that calls for ramps in the next few days on Stylish Spoon. Trust me when I say it is worth checking back for (hint: it includes bacon!).