In a week’s time, New York City has gone from spring to summer. Temperature was up 76 last week and I wore shorts to work. Good thing the produce at the farmers’ market was still in spring mode because I couldn’t have celebrated the warm weather without having my first ramps of the season. I got my early batch from Whole Foods for $19.99 a pound. F that! A bigger bunch in Union Square was $2.50 each when I stopped by the next morning. Because I was able to afford a few bunches, I decided to pickle them.
Make sure you wash and clean the ramps thoroughly. From the farmers’ market, the roots were intact. I cut them off and washed them with the water running; the onion skin from the stalks easily came off. I cut off and only left about an inch of the greens. I set the leaves aside for another recipe. Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice mix used to flavor soups and noodle dishes. You can buy a small bottle from Sunrise Mart if you’re in Manhattan, or else make your own.
4 bunches of ramps
2 cups rice-wine vinegar
1 cup white sugar
For the shichimi togarashi:
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp sesame seeds
3 curls of orange peel
a very small knob of ginger, peeled, crushed
1 sheet of nori
1. Bring all the ingredients, except the ramps, to a full boil in 3 cups of water until sugar dissolves.
2. In a pickling jar, place cleaned ramps and pour in the pickling juice. Using a small tea cup as weight, make sure that the ramps are completely submerged. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Seal jar and store in the refrigerator for about 5 days.