Grilled Ramps with Mustard Vinaigrette

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Saturday was Countryside Conservancy’s first outdoor farmer’s market of the year, and just as their welcome sign advertised, asparagus and ramps both made a strong showing.

Asparagus, ramps and - rutabaga? Oh my!

Asparagus, ramps and – rutabaga? Oh my!

To me, ramps are a sure sign of spring.  Ramps, scientific name Allium tricoccum (yep, I’m showing off a little bit), also known as wild leek or wild onion, look a bit like scallions with broad leaves, and taste like a cross between garlic and a sweet onion. They also have an extremely short season, so enjoy them while you can!

I was so happy to find ramps at the farmers market that I wanted to really showcase them somehow.  Last year, I made some ramp pesto, and used some in a stir fry with shrimp. Good, but not good enough. This spring, I wanted to try something different.

Enter the grill.

Best Christmas present ever!

Best Christmas present ever!

I wanted to grill the ramps, but I thought it needed a little something extra.  I had picked up some boneless pork chops from Brunty Farms at the market as well, and the ramps would definitely go well with pork.  I wanted some kind of sauce, but something that wouldn’t be overpowering.  I thought about treating the ramps like a warm salad, and it was obvious.  Vinaigrette!  Specifically, a mustard vinaigrette that would be awesome with grilled pork chops.  Done, and done.

The ramps were so easy to grill I can’t even call it a recipe.  First, I trimmed the ends of the bulbs.  Then I misted them with just a bit of olive oil and sprinkled on some salt.  I have an oil sprayer (like this one but red) that I love! I use it all the time.

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After I grilled the pork chops with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, I laid the ramps on the grill. The grill was crazy hot, and it literally just took a minute for the leaves to wilt and start to char.  As the ramps cooked, they smelled amazing!! A little smoky, garlicky and sweet at the same time – yum!

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One word of warning, though.  Be careful how you lay them on the grill – one wilted faster than I expected and slipped through the grates.  Next time, I would place them straight across the grates instead of as up and down as they are in this picture.

Once I pulled them off the grill, I drizzled some of the mustard vinaigrette on top and served them with the pork chops and a side of roasted asparagus (also from the farmers market, and also amazingly tasty).  My boyfriend even tried one of the ramps, although he wasn’t quite as excited about it as I was.

He was excited about the mustard vinaigrette, though!  He put it on the pork chop, the ramps, the asparagus, and if there had been anything else on the plate, I’m sure it would have been drenched in vinaigrette as well.  I made enough to have leftover, and it was just as good on a salad for a weekday lunch.

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of your favorite grainy mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Salad dressings are easy – I just dumped all this in a mason jar, shook it up, and put it in the fridge until I needed it.  Love recipes like that.

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Have you ever had ramps, or seen them at a farmers market?  What seasonal plants/veggies are your favorite signs of spring?