Archive for May, 2008|Monthly archive page
Last night the whole Rick’s Picks gang got together at my house and engaged in one of our favorite rites of Spring… pickling ramps. If ramps are unfamiliar to you, they are a fern-like root that grows wild on the forest floor for a short period in Springtime. They are similar to a leek or scallion in appearance once trimmed, and have a spectacular pungent earthy flavor. They are great sauteed or pureed in a soup, and as pickles… well, they are just sublime. Ramps have an interesting history. In the old days, they were considered suitable only for poor folk… not the stuff of epicurean desire. Now, they are prized by top chefs who pay a premium at the Greenmarket for the best ramps. They are truly the caviar of spring vegetables. We tried two pickling styles last night. The first was a white vinegar brine with muddled pink peppercorns and dried hibiscus flowers. Part of the ramp’s stem has a reddish-purple cast, and the pink peppercorns and the hibiscus reinforced the beautiful color while lending a sweet astringency to the flavor of the pickle. The other approach used a white wine vinegar brine with muddled green peppercorns and whole coriander seeds. There’s an earthiness lingering in the ramps… the terrior… and these spices amplify it. We’ll see which one comes out better. The goal is to introduce pickled ramps as an official Rick’s Picks’ pickle in 2009 for our Greenmarket and online customers. One thing is certain…we’ve already got the name: ON-RAMPS. When I told our friend Will the Chef at the Barnard Inn, in Barnard, Vermont about Project Ramp he responded thusly: if baby leeks are called ramps, what are old leeks called? Answer: Gramps.
We’ll be here all week!
We’re thrilled to join 50 of the top restaurants in NYC along with several other artisanal producers at tonight’s Taste of the Nation benefit at Roseland Ballroom here in New York City. The reason for the event is this: NO KID HUNGRY. Tonight there will be Taste of the Nation events in over 20 cities each with this same theme, to raise money to help feed hungry kids. If you’d like to learn more about Taste of the Nation and what you can do to help, visit newyorktaste.org.