When we lived in Chicago, ramps were treated with a reverence that now seems almost comical. Every spring, once the city got its first supply of ramps, special ramp focused menus start appearing. Ramps were the talk of the culinary community for the few weeks they were in season. We actually once heard a man waxing eloquent about the ramps at Naha, which were “carefully brushed with oil before being gently charred over a charcoal grill.” It was like an episode of Frasier. We’ve been seeing the same scenes play out in New York on Instagram the past few weeks and can’t help but laugh. Perhaps the urban obsession with ramps stems from one simple fact – they don’t grow in cities. You must go foraging for ramps in the countryside.
The European equivalent, bärlauch or ramson, are wildly abundant, so much so that they are sold in packs at the grocery store. The ones we purchased didn’t have the bulb on the end like you would expect from prized ramps in the United States, but their lush green leaves work perfectly well in any dish you’d make with ramps.
Chop them up to make compound butter or sprinkle them on eggs. We made a super simple kind of breakfast casserole made of homemade hash browns with ramps, crumbled sausage, and eggs. If you can’t find wild garlic or ramps, you can leave it out or use another green like kale.
Homemade Hash browns with Ramps and Sausage
- 1-2 sausages, crumbled
- 3 golden potatoes, grated
- 1 yellow onion, grated
- Handful of ramps or wild garlic, chopped through
- 4 eggs
- In a large sauté pan, heat a few tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the crumbled sausages and cook until well browned.
- Meanwhile, place the grated onion and potatoes in a strainer and toss with salt. Allow to sit for a few minutes while the sausages brown, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the potatoes and onions. Add to the pan with the sausages and ramps and cook, stirring only occasionally, until the potatoes begin to get crispy.
- When the hash browns look crispy, reduce the heat slightly, spread it in a single layer, and prepare 4 spaces for the eggs. Crack the eggs into each space. Let cook until the egg whites are just cooked through and serve topped with a bit of finishing salt and fresh cracked pepper.