ramps carbonara


Last spring, my quest for ramps was epic yet ultimately futile. Turns out you have to get to the farmer’s market when it opens at 7am, and I think the earliest I ever managed was 8am. 7am on a Saturday is a lot to ask, even for ramps. But this year my neighbor introduced me to a vegetable delivery service which supplies ramps, and I can finally be a proper foodie.

If you are unfamiliar with ramps, they are a seasonal craze that has admittedly gotten a bit out of control in recent years. They’re really a wild form of onion, and were once so abundant along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River that Chicago takes it name from a Native American word for ramps. They smell grassy and garlicky and tastes like a cross between onion and garlic, its sharp punch of flavor mellowed by a touch of sweetness. They are admittedly delicious, but what makes ramps the unicorn of the allium family is their short season (a brief few weeks) and their wild provenance. Continue reading