When you see ramps at the Greenmarket, it is a sign that spring is here. These delicacies are only available for short period of time. I discovered this awesome plant last year, and its flavor of onion, garlic, scallion, mixed all into one is very nice. When you go to upscale restaurants around this time of year in NYC, I bet you will find ramps in at least one of the dishes--that's how popular these babies are.
My favorite overpriced Korean vendor at the Greenmarket is back, and the first thing the place carried was a huge container filled with ramps. Since the period of supply is very short, when you see ramps, you buy them without hesitation. Also, you buy a lot, since you can make things that will last until next year's ramp season.
So I bought four bunches (at $3.50 a bunch, it's a bit high, but with all the hype on ramps, it is understandable).
Separate roots and leaves.
If you remember my post on ramps from last year, I still have the pickling liquid, so I decided to pickle roots in this same liquid. It still contains last year's ginger, honey, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and ramps.
One year old ramps. Since I made it while intoxicated (the Greenmarket is tricky--you buy them in the morning, and decide to go out for happy hour after work, keep the day's purchase in your bag, totally forget about it, and when you come home drunk, you open the bag, and the whole thing smells like garlic, and you realize, 'Shit, I'm stuck with a bunch of ramps to cook before they all wilt'). These are nicely pickled, but a bit bitter, since I didn't blanch them first.
I chopped them up.
I bought John Dory at the fish monger at the Greenmarket (support local fishing!!). By the way, John Dory is totally better than all the white fish such as sole, or flounder. Since I had other plan for dinner, I decided to marinate the fish in miso. Miso is a great preservative, also adding a unique sweet/salty flavor to whatever you are marinating. It's most common to marinate fish in miso, but you can totally use it to marinate pork, chicken, or even beef. It also tenderizes the meat so well that you will be amazed by the tenderness of your miso-marinated meat.
I mixed two tablespoons of miso, two tablespoons of mirin, and added sake to make smooth out the mixture. Then, I added pickled ramps.
Marinate fish for at least overnight, or in my case, it's still in the freezer.
For the leaves, you can sauté them with butter, or blanch them and eat like spinach, but I wasn't going to use them immediately, so I decided to make pesto. Since I only had almonds in the house, I used them instead of pine nuts. When you make pesto with basil, you add garlic, but ramps already have garlic flavor, so there's no need to add them. Add salt and olive oil, and process together until smooth. I usually do not add cheese when making pesto. Instead, I add it when I'm actually cooking with the pesto, which I think tastes better.
This tasted very green. Maybe I should have blanched the leaves it first. It had that really raw, green flavor.
I will get another bunch of ramps this week, and see what else I can do with them.