No, not ramps as in highway off ramps. But ramps, as in wild leeks. Or wild garlic. They come out this time of year, and you can find them at your local market. They have a strong onion smell, and look like green onions, but with a red stalk and a leafier top. I try and indulge in them every spring, as they are around for so little time. I’ve used them in omelettes, salsas, soups, salads and this recipe for warm potato salad, my favourite way to use ramps. I prefer a savoury over a sweet potato salad. More a vinaigrette than a creamy base. There’s no mayo or dairy in this recipe at all. I served it with some leftover grilled chicken, and it instantly made my lunch that much better.
Fun Fact of the Day
These rare delicacies are actually protected under legislation by the government of Quebec, where they are an endangered plant species. But they are legally harvested and sold across the rest of Canada.
- 6-8 medium to large potatoes
- one bunch of ramps
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (less, if you find vinegar to be to strong)
- 1 tbsp mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put a large pot of water to boil.
- Wash, clean and cut potatoes into chunks. Add to water, and cook, approximately 15 minutes, or until desired tenderness.
- Wash and clean ramps. Remove the root tip and any bruised leaves. Dice the ramps, including the leafy greens.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium to low heat in a small pan. Sautee just the white bulb and red stems of the ramps for approximately 5 minutes, until they turn a beautiful translucent colour.
- Once potatoes are cooked, drain and set aside. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Add sauteed ramps, along with leafy greens (the heat from the potatoes will wilt them a bit).
- Mix together vinegar, mustard, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Pour over potatoes and ramps. Toss to make sure everything is thoroughly coated. Serve warm.
Paolo Zinatelli is a writer for Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @paoloz5