Appalachian Springtime Classic – Ramps with Eggs and Potatoes

by Jenn on April 25, 2009

in Breakfast,Budget,Diabetic Friendly,Gluten Free,Meats

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Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are a plant native to Appalachia.  One good thing about living in the midwest is that right now they are everywhere!  These broad leafed members of the onion family are very pungent, and can be used in place of onions or garlic in most dishes.  But I decided, why not embrace the culture that is best known for embracing them, and create a dish inspired by traditional Appalachian cuisine?

I foraged for these near the river, and felt a little bit like Pollan during his last segment of Omnivore’s Dilemma, when he created a meal entirely from food he foraged himself.  Now I didn’t go wild boar hunting, but foraging for ramps oddly inspired a sense of coming back to the earth, kind of like finding your own roots (ha, no pun intended!).  Foraging for food is great.  You aren’t encouraging any non-sustainable food industry, and it’s free!  Just make sure that you forage in places where it is ok to do so.  Don’t go foraging on protected land, etc.

Ramps are pretty easy to identify – they smell really strong when you dig them up, have these big broad leaves and reddish stems near the base of the plant, and grow in bunches.

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The entire plant is edible – the bulb, stem, and the leaves, so if you cook ramps, please eat all of the plant to enjoy the most that you can!

When I got home, I washed them and let them soak in water overnight so that I could make my dish this morning.  Being in a little bit of water in the fridge worked really well for keeping them looking fresh and happy:

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Ok now that you know all about ramps, onto the dish that was inspired by them!

This dish was very budget friendly too, yes even with the prosciutto – 5 eggs is about $1.50, 3 red potatoes is about $1 worth, the ramps were free, the fresh spinach was about $1.50 worth, but this can be cheaper if you buy frozen, I used about $3 worth of prosciutto, and the 4 tbs. of oil and little bit of milk and cheese can’t have been more than $.50 worth.  You are looking at under $8 for 6 servings here, not bad.

And just for fun, here is a really cool shot I got after I chopped up the ramps, don’t they look so yummy!!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

brannyboilsover April 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm

I’ve never heard of ramps. Thanks for the lesson.

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joelen April 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm

This looks delicious! Not too far from Chicago is a city that hosts a “Rampfest” annually. This would be a great recipe to try after visiting Rampfest!

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Jessica April 25, 2009 at 7:19 pm

That is so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

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Sue May 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Thanks so much for posting this. We have these things ALL OVER our property. They’re the first thing to come up in spring. I had no idea they were wild leeks! I pulled some last night and used them, thanks to you!

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