April 3, 2012

Ramps, Bacon, and Fried Potatoes

Early in the month of March means one thing in our house, ramps! With family that live in the mountain counties we are able to get ramps early in the season (when I think they taste the best) and by the end of the month I have normally used them in a variety of recipes. Before I met my husband I had no idea what ramps looked like, much less tasted or used them in recipes. That all changed when I married someone who grow up in the heart of West Virginia ramp country. The first year his mother brought down young ramps to clean I had no idea what to do with the bag of very muddy and ugly looking roots and shoots of what looked like a odd looking green onion.
I quickly learned that each ramp has to be cleaned and cut to be prepared to cook with. To do this I cut off the root and take off the dirt and outside husk of each of the ramps. Before each ramp is cleaned they look like this:
Not very appetizing, but after being cleaned and washed up they look like this:
So your probably asking yourself great, now what do I do with them? The answer is so much! Ramps are a great way to add flavor to a variety of recipes from biscuits to stews, pizza, you name it they work! While a lot of people prefer the later ramps which have a leafier green top, I am partial to the early shoots, I feel that the flavor is better and I prefer them when baking or cooking. So what do I do with the pounds of ramps I receive each year? I love substituting them for green onions in savory biscuits, with eggs, stews, soups and most importantly with fried bacon and potatoes. So here is my recipe for Ramps, Bacon, and Fried Potatoes.

After cleaning and trimming up your ramps, fry enough thick cut bacon (I love the maple cured variety) for the number of servings you are making. I normally make an entire package, if you've read my blog before you know that my family absolutely loves bacon and my husband would use bacon in absolutely everything if I let him.
Next I add the ramps and cook until they are softened and slightly caramelized. If you have an abundance of bacon grease pour off the excess before frying the ramps.
When the ramps are finished cooking, add the potatoes and fry until they are browned and crisp. Since the potatoes takes a lot longer than the ramps or bacon, I will often start them first and add chopped ramps in with the bacon grease while they are frying to ensure that the bacon and ramps don't get cold while the potatoes are frying.



Once everything is done, I plate the bacon, ramps and potatoes and enjoy! If you want an even stronger ramp flavor you can add minced ramps to the potatoes while they are frying. My two boys love their potatoes this way and they taste great! The most important thing to remember when using ramps is that the flavor is much stronger than leeks or green onions so a small amount goes a long way. Additionally, similar to garlic your pours will sweat out the ramps the next day after eating them, so warn everyone around you that's its ramp season. Or better yet make sure that they eat as many as you do!

40 comments:

  1. yum! Thanks for introducing me to minced ramps!

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  2. truly speaking, I had never heard of ramps before...but your post sure makes it look yummy,gotta try!

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    1. I hadn't heard of them until I met my husband. Now I use them all the time in the spring in recipes.

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  3. Haha! My husband would put bacon in everything if I let him, too! Must be a man thing!

    This recipe looks really good, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I'd like to try it in an omelet, too or maybe a breakfast burrito! Thanks, Frugal! :)

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    1. It probably is, my two sons are the same way :) I've used ramps before in omelets, they're great!

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  4. I'd never heard of ramps until today. Thanks for the intro! They look tasty. I don't know if we have them in Ohio, but I'll ask around.

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    1. I hadn't heard of them until my mother-in-law introduced them to me years back :) I'm not sure if they would have them in OH or not, they are all over the mountains of WV :)

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  5. They're here in Ohio :) I just got some today @ the farmer's market. Enjoy!

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    1. I wish that we had a better farmer's market! Charleston has a great one, but the one in Huntington isn't as great :) I hope you make some yummy recipes with your ramps!

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  6. So interesting. I have never even heard of ramps before reading, so I am so glad I came over from SITS to check it out! :) Thank you!

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    1. They are big in WV since they are easy to find and cheap! They really are yummy :)

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  7. Sounds so delicious. Where does the name come from? Happy SITS day!

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    1. Ramps really are delicious if done right! I actually have no idea where the name comes from :) I just know that is what they are called.

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  8. That's a new one on me. I have never heard of ramps,but they do look a lot like green onions.

    Happy SITS Day!

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    1. These are early ramps. Late ramps have large green leaves. They taste like a wild leek, very strong, especially early in the season.

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  9. I've never heard of ramps before. I'm glad you described them and showed them. Sounds like a great receipe with a fun ingredient.

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    1. A lot of people haven't. They are great for adding flavor, especially in biscuits, yum!

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  10. Happy SITS day! I had no idea that ramps even existed! Thanks for introducing me. Now, I'll be on the look out!

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    1. Your not the only one, a lot of people haven't heard of them. A lot of chefs love them though and spend over twenty dollars a pound for them in larger cities :)

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  11. Happy SITS Day!! I've never heard of ramps before but they sound delicious!

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    1. They really are delicious, great as a substitute for strong onions such as shallots.

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  12. Happy SITS Day!
    You've inspired me to cook for Sunday's breakfast. Thanks!

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    1. I love making big Sunday breakfasts, yum!

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  13. Wow. This sounds really good. I've never heard of ramps. Not sure if you can get them here in Maine? Happy SITS Day.

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    1. I know that get them on the East coast, they are big with chefs in NY city, I'm not sure about Maine though :) You can order them through the mail though from a farm in Richwood, WV!

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  14. Nice post! Saying hi from SITS! Hope you are having a great day so far. I have never cooked with ramps but was in NYC last year during ramp season and did order a pizza at Eataly with ramps on it. I learned so much from this post - thanks for sharing the details. Very helpful.

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    1. I love ramp pizza! I have made it many times :) Glad that my post was informative!

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  15. Happy SITS Day, Ann! Admittedly, I've never heard of ramps before in my life. Here's what I'm wondering... when they're in season, is it possible to purchase them from the grocery store? Or, is this an item that you have to go out and hand-pick? I also wonder about their flavor... savory, I imagine - correct?

    I'm intrigued. Can you tell? How awesome to meet you and to be introduced to a new type of vegetable (?) too. Cool!

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    1. You can definitely get them at the store. My mother-in-law buys them for me from a store in the mountains that has them when they are in season. The taste is like a combination of a very strong garlic/onion. It's technically a wild leek so the flavor is pretty intense, but delicious!

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    2. Hey Ann... thanks for sharing the info about where to get them. I love in the city - in Houston, so I have no clue where I'd find them here. I will say this however, I betcha I'd love them. I'm a HUGE onion lover and I think leeks are the best. I'm going to do some research to see if one of the vegetarian restaurants might know where to find them - if they've heard of them.
      Thanks for writing me back!

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    3. I know that you can order them through the mail from a farm in Richwood, WV. I have never ordered them, but I know other people that have. They arrive fresh, so they are supposed to be pretty good!

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  16. I'd never heard of ramps and odds are I'll never find them here in Montana. But a girl can dream, right? Sounds FAB!! Stopping by from SITS.

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    1. You can order them online and they promise them to be fresh. I've never ordered them, but my mother-in-law knows the people that own the farm. They really are delicious!

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  17. living in Alaska I'd never heard of ramps before. But these sound yummy! Found you via SITS & I'm looking forward to more of your recipes:)

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    1. Yeah, they probably don't get all the way to Alaska :) I hope you come back again soon and find some great recipes to try!

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  18. I have never heard of ramps but it looks yummy!

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    1. They really are yummy, I use them as a replacement for shallots in recipes all the time!

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