Sauteed Ramps and Shallots

May 5th, 2008

At the farmer’s market this week, I overheard two girls standing over a pile of ramps, asking each other what they were and what to do with them.  And I didn’t want to butt into their conversation, but I really hope those two girls read this blog, because I humbly suggest that the perfect way to serve ramps this spring is sauteed whole with shallots and olive oil.  

But that didn’t answer their first question — what are ramps?  Since I can’t just refer to them as “yummy things that grow in the earth in springtime” without being a little bit more specific, here goes.

Ramps are tiny, delicate, thin spring onions that are sometimes known as wild leeks.  According to Wikipedia, they’re especially popular in the state of West Virginia and the province of Quebec.  Seriously. (Who writes this stuff?)

But those West Virginians and Canadians are onto something, because they are absolutely delicious. Wild-tasting and incredibly fresh, I could barely photograph them before popping each stalk into my mouth.  I didn’t eavesdrop for too long, but I really hope those girls bought a bundle or two — it doesn’t get any more fresh and seasonal than these.

Sauteed Ramps and Shallots

2 small bunches of ramps (around 1/2 pound, I think)
2 large shallots, peeled and cut into slices
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium-high heat, with the olive oil, for about 4 minutes, or until oil is almost smoking.  Add shallots to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, or until caramelized on one side (try not to stir too much).
2. Add ramps to the pan and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until leaves have wilted and cooked down, and stalks are tender.  Remove from heat and serve.

Serves two.

Tags: food · side dishes

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Elle // May 5, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Haha, thanks for answering my question–“What are ramps?”  And as for what to do with them, this looks perfect, Katy.  You are introducing me to so many new ingredients, and for that, I thank you!

  • 2 Andy // May 5, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for the information.  I’d never even heard of ramps before.

  • 3 rachel // May 5, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Why can’t I find ramps? Unfair! This looks so great, I am jealous!

  • 4 mimi // May 5, 2008 at 8:14 am

    looks great, although i would love just about anything sauteed with shallots!

  • 5 Helen // May 5, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Hmmm, I’ve never heard of ramps before. I wonder if we can get them here in the UK. They are certainly very pretty.

  • 6 Marc @ No Recipes // May 5, 2008 at 8:42 am

    This is the best way to enjoy ramps. They’re great over pasta too.

  • 7 katy // May 5, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Anyone who hasn’t seen ramps before or is having trouble finding them — this is one of the few foods that I’ve *only* seen at farmer’s markets.  Never seen them in a grocery store, even Whole Foods.  Check specialty vegetable markets or find a farmer’s market near you!

  • 8 Kitt // May 5, 2008 at 9:20 am


    I don’t think they grow here. Rather, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them here. Could be it’s too dry? Must investigate.

  • 9 Alejandra // May 5, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I love ramps! And I’m absolutely serving them up this way at my dinner party this weekend. Am so excited about all the gorgeous spring flavors.

  • 10 VeggieGirl // May 5, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I’ve never even HEARD of ramps, much less seen them lately at the farmer’s market, haha – I do love shallots though, for sure :0) Looks enticing!

  • 11 Sauteed Ramps and Shallots | Smoking // May 5, 2008 at 11:21 am

    […] Continue Reading […]

  • 12 Erin // May 5, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Fun!  I’ve never had ramps before although I’m sure they exist at Whole Foods or maybe I’ll luck out and some will appear in my organic veggie delivery one week.

    Great vibrant images of a simple dish!

  • 13 Joy // May 5, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Thanks, once again, for introducing me to something new.  I’ve never seen them nor heard of them.  They look so good…and healthy!

  • 14 Joanna // May 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Ooh this sounds like a great recipe!  I bought ramps at the greenmarket for the first time last week and I agree that ramps are seasonal eating at its finest — they just taste like spring!  I used my bunch to make a pesto sauce with lemon zest and walnuts.  Maybe next week I’ll do the same and freeze the pesto, and buy some more bunches to saute like this, ’cause I can’t get me enough ramps!

  • 15 katy // May 6, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you guys so much for your comments!  Let me know if anyone finds ramps and tries this!!!

  • 16 Emiline // May 7, 2008 at 12:15 am


    Oh, you lucky thing.  I wish I had some ramps!
    I wonder why they’re more popular in West Virgina?  Maybe the soil is really good there, so they just have lots of ramps everywhere.

  • 17 Lisa // May 7, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I stumbled onto your blog through your comments on mine, and it is beautiful! The photographs of these ramps are especially lovely.

  • 18 dave // May 7, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    wow – leaving the ramps whole! very cool idea & will have to try this.  For the shallots – one time I discovered kind of by accident that you can fry them up in a half inch or so of olive oil until they’re crispy. Then set them aside on paper towels while you use the oil to cook the ramps – then sprinkle the crispy shallot rings on top. Might be a yummy variation!

  • 19 emily // May 8, 2008 at 2:13 am

    looks incredible.  i love the photo!!

  • 20 Julie O'Hara // May 8, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Those look great! My kind of cooking. I haven’t found ramps here in FL, though I’ve been keeping an eye out. I’m still hoping!

  • 21 Nicole // May 11, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    So, I found these at our farmer’s market (upstate NY), and I just used this recipe–so good!  I am so glad I tried them; never would’ve if not for this website. So fresh and delicious!

  • 22 katie // May 13, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Yeah, that’ll do it!
    Couldn’t get more perfect for spring than that!

  • 23 Meg // May 20, 2008 at 11:22 am

    I never can find ramps at the farmers markets in baltimore! this looks delicious!

    I love your blog!

  • 24 Fresh From the Farmer's Market #4 | Modern Beet // Jun 11, 2008 at 10:45 am

    […] from Sugarlaws sent a recipe for a dish that sings of spring — Sauteed Ramps and Shallots. I totally missed ramp season around here, but am going to tuck this away until next spring and […]

  • 25 Gavin // Apr 29, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Citarella on Third Avenue at 75th Street NYC has them.  Do you eat the leaves?

  • 26 Katy // Apr 29, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Gavin — Yup, each everything!  The leaves wilt down like spinach or chard after cooking.

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  • 28 three-ingredient peanut butter cookies | Sugarlaws // Apr 15, 2014 at 10:31 am

    […] December in Manhattan meant apples and local goat cheese and rendering duck fat, spring brought ramps and sunchokes and dragonfruit. I made my own sourdough starter and piped éclairs, baked cakes from […]

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