Sautéed Scallops with Ramps

Ramps season is here and we got our hands on some from the Union Square Greenmarket. If you love garlic and onions, then you’ve got to try ramps. They have a short growing season and can only be found in early spring. And what’s more, they’re wild; so the ramps we eat are foraged from wild populations. Apparently they’re finicky plants and difficult to cultivate. But I guess that’s what makes it exciting when the first bunches of ramps are spotted at markets and on restaurant menus. Since the foodie population has grown exponentially, at least in New York, I’ve seen blogs and Twitter handles dedicated to ramp-spotting. I suppose the ephemeral nature of the plant excites us to seek it out wherever possible during the few weeks of its season.

And what does it taste like exactly? Think of it as the flavors of garlic and a mild shallot combined. After all, it is part of the Allium genus, which also contains leeks, shallots, onions, scallions and garlic. So definitely have a post-ramp stick of gum at the ready. Or have a few sticks on hand since when they are in season, they’re everywhere. You can have them at breakfast – they’re great with eggs, as a side, or in them as an omlette. You can also have them at lunch and dinner with pasta, pizza, seafood…basically with anything you usually put garlic and onion in. The whole ramp, including the stem, can be eaten. They’re fast to cook (either whole or chopped up) and just need a quick sauté.  I cooked one bunch with eggs, which I didn’t photograph. The other bunch I used with wild Diver Scallops. This might be one of the easiest recipes I’ve posted. I cooked both the ramps and the scallops cleanly since I wanted their natural flavors to shine.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Sauté the ramps, season to taste, and set aside on a plate.
  3. Rinse scallops and pat dry. Season to taste.
  4. In the same or another pan, heat some more olive oil.
  5. Sear scallops for a few minutes (about 2) on each side.
  6. Plate scallops on top of ramps and serve immediately.

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