A wild recipe: Ramps harvested by hand in the Appalachian Mountains for this month’s Chef’s Feature

LOCAVORE’S DELIGHT: The Series #2.

Follow us all summer long as we explore the bounty of our region’s farms.

It took 5 years, a 4-hour ride in a London taxi cab, and a tradition as old as the Appalachian Mountains to make this Pickled Ramp and Mushroom Relish. And it’s all for you this month at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen in Greensboro.

The prized perishable in the relish is the wild ramp. The heirloom vegetable still grows in abundance in the wet hollows and ravines of the Appalachian Mountains.

Favored in high end restaurants for its scarcity and garlic-onion flavor, getting your hands on a batch of ramps either takes some extra scratch – up to $25 a pound – or a sense of adventure.

Ramps are slow to divide and propagate. Its life-cycle is 5 years from stem to seed, and because ramps prefer the steep mountain side near ravines, they can only be harvested by hand.

Good thing Lucky 32 has a taste for adventure. We were recently a special guest at Foggy Ridge Cider and hunted ramps with Diane Flynt, co-owner of the community-friendly cider farm. Read about the ramp adventure here.

Taste the adventure and the spring tonic known as the ramp in this Pickled Ramp and Mushroom Relish. Ask for the Chef’s Selection of Fresh Fish, a special item on the right side of the menu.

And to get the full adventure flavor, try our new New Jersey Cocktail, made with Foggy Ridge Hard Cider or their First Fruit Cider, now available by the glass, made from apples grown in close proximity to these wild ramps.

Pickled Ramp and Mushroom Relish

Pickled Ramps

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound ramps, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp sea salt

Wash the ramps under cool, running water. Drain the ramps well and place them in a mason jar. Combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf, and peppercorns. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the ramps in the mason jar and let cool, sealing tight and transferring to the refrigerator.

Pickled Ramp and Mushroom Relish
Yield= 1 qt

  • 2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, weighed with stems
  • 2/3 cup canola oil, divided
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • ½ pounds pickled ramps
  • 1/3 cup pickling brine from ramps

Trim stems from mushrooms (and use when making stock). Julienne mushroom caps. In a large mixing bowl, combine 1/3 c oil with tamari and pepper; add mushrooms and mix well. Distribute mushrooms evenly on a baking sheet and cook in a 350 oven for 7-9 minutes, or until partially dried. Chop ramps finely (white and green parts); combine with mushrooms and remaining ingredients.

Adapted from Serious Eats

Read LOCAVORE’s DELIGHT: The Series.

For more about our seasonal recipes, see our current menu at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen and our Blog Recipe Index:https://lucky32southernkitchen.com/recipes/

Posted May 2012

4 thoughts on “A wild recipe: Ramps harvested by hand in the Appalachian Mountains for this month’s Chef’s Feature

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