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Start your engines, ladies and gentlemen: Ramp season has officially begun. Obtained only through foraging, the young wild leeks (adored for their seductive perfume and flavor) are the prize of any chef's produce section, so take advantage of these seasonal menu additions while you still can.
And just why is the ramp so sacred? For starters, this delicious cousin of the onion only springs up from the soil a few weeks a year, and it's nearly impossible to find. (There’s even a black market for ramps in Quebec. Yes, really!) And since New York chefs go especially crazy for ramps right about now, we rounded up the best ramp-blessed dishes at NYC hotspots like Babbo, The Eddy, Sessanta and Huertas, to name just a few.
Mario Batali must have gotten his hands on an extra large shipment of ramps, offering them atop fresh chili-strewn pizzas at Otto, and also incorporating them into the menu at his flagship Babbo, where they're tossed with tender bucatini pasta along with nutty breadcrumbs and pecorino.
Not only is The Eddy's sister spot, The Wallflower, offering a ramp-tastic brunch dish (a foie gras-schmeared bagel, crowned with pickled wild onions), but The Eddy has made ramps a key focus of their menu as well, with Icelandic Cod and sautéed ramp leaves, Ramp Pesto topped with French radishes, and even a Pickled Ramp Gibson, crafted with gin and pickled ramps.
Toothsome cones of calamari have taken a trip through the farmers market at John McDonald’s Sessanta, propped atop snappy snow peas, blooming white buds of flowering spring onion, assertive green garlic, and— talk about an allium triple play—ramps, dappled with sweet, dark droplets of 15-year-old balsamic.
The traditional Spanish dish known as rotos (potato strands topped with a fried egg) has gotten a real spring makeover at the hot Basque spot Huertas, the crunchy spuds colored green with a wash of ramp salsa, and the delicate poached yolk ringed by a circlet of smoky, charred ramps.
To read about more NYC restaurants serving these fabulous spring greens, and find out about other not-to-miss trends, continue reading this article on BravoTV.com contributor Restaurant Girl's blog.