I’ve just returned from a weekend visit to my grandparents’ house in Upstate NY. To be more specific, in Roseboom, NY, a tiny town (if you can even call it that) around twenty minutes from Cooperstown—home of The Baseball Hall of Fame and Otsego Lake and Glimmerglass Opera and The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum and Ommegang Brewery (YUM! You can find their beer at local establishments like the Publick House and American Craft).

Over the hills in Roseboom sits “The Hilltop,” home to my grandparents (both in their nineties), their dog Friday, and an abundance of happy memories and family traditions. In this world far removed from Boston’s bustle, we have plenty of time to slow down and savor the fresh country air, as well as delicious food—including the maple syrup and elk meat from Stannard’s Maple Farm, down the hill. These excursions also give us the opportunity to cook with freshly picked vegetables—a rare treat for us city folk!

This weekend, my aunt and boyfriend headed into the woods, garden tools in tow, to hunt for some of the first vegetables of spring: ramps—also known as wild leeks. And boy, did they return happy! (And rumors about the potent smell of ramps—a mix of garlic and onions—are absolutely true!) Being small in size, these were definitely the first of the season.

After thoroughly cleaning off all the dirt, my aunt whipped up a fantastic, flavorful dish of Scalloped Potatoes with Ramps. Then last night, my boyfriend and I had shrimp in the freezer, so we came up with the Shrimp ‘n Ramps recipe below. All in all, ramps are a wonderful (and easy!) addition in meals that you would typically use leeks, scallions, or even onions. Try them out…a few good recipes here to start with and as always, feel free to add more in our comments section. Happy ramp-hunting!

Shrimp ‘n Ramps

  • With heat on low, sauté around 1 cup of thinly sliced ramps (including bulbs, stalks, and greens) and 2 minced cloves of garlic in 1tbsp butter and a little olive oil until the ramps wilt
  • Add 1tbsp of butter, ¼ cup of white wine, lemon juice (1 lemon) and salt and pepper, simmer for a few minutes
  • Add shrimp (handful of large frozen shrimp for each person); cook until pink
  • Serve over rice or quinoa