Sixteen years ago when I first started cooking I had no idea what a ramp was. When I cooked with Ken at Clio, ramps were not common place. And that is what made them unique. We made an incredible ramp Vichysoisse which was bright green and velvety smooth. Later, cooking with Marco on the vineyard brought more ramps into the kitchen, big time, mostly pickled. I remember spending hours cleaning ramps by myself in the newly opened Craft kitchen, pickling them for the summer to come. In Maine we were fortunate enough to have them delivered to our back door. We needed to figure out how to use the bounty. While we pickled plenty of bottoms, this was when we began to treasure using the tops. We made ramp top cavatelli and ramp green sausage. We smoked them too. In Colorado we made ramp green kimchi and even ramp kimchi cracklings.
Coming back East we still love our ramps, with its unique allium flavor and the variety of textures you get from a single plant. When we moved down to Pennsylvania I had the pleasure of going ramp picking with Scott, Joe and Mike Mike from Elements. When spring arrives we enjoy the memories we have of ramps past and look forward to making new ones. It amazes me that ramps are starting to get a bad rap, they are scoffed at and disparaged. At first I was upset. Then I looked at the big picture and realized that all these naysayers are doing is making sure that there are more for me and my like-minded mentors and fellow cooks.