Cooking With Wild Leeks (Ramps)

I  am a lucky girl. I know this to be true because recently people have been gifting me food. This is the greatest gift a person can give, in my estimation. Part of this is because I am Italian, so food is uber-important culturally. The other is that food is such a personal passion that I am honored when people bring me something and ask me to cook it and see what I think.

This was the case with wild leeks. Our friend Jim brought us the leeks from West Virginia. They are in the onion family, but not like their commercial counter part. I was really excited to get to the nitty gritty with the wild leeks (also called "ramps.") 

The thing about eating wild plants? They are all dirty when you get 'em--like the cardoons we made earlier, remember? So you gots to wash 'em goooood. 

For the wild leeks, you want to remove the dirtiest looking part and those hairs. I like to do it under running water because it all just sort of peels right back. 

Ah, a thing of beauty, right? 

Then I cut off the stem. 

Then I rinsed and repeated until I had a bunch of them! I put them all in this colander as I gathered them, and then afterward I gave 'em one last good rinse.

How to cook them? I am glad you asked. I am not exactly giving a broken down recipe like usual, but here's what I did, and I imagine there are a ton of ways to cook them (readers, please do share!). 

First I melted half a stick of butter, and then I added the leeks..... 

And some asparagus, since it was in season. 

Then I shook the pan and let them cook for 15-20 minutes. Since the leeks can be a little bitter, I added salt, which I felt cut down on the bitter quality. Let's says ton of butter helped too :) And for those butter-haters out there, all I gotta say is: haters gonna hate, but I am the one enjoying my butter! At the very end, I added a little splash of wine, too and boiled it slightly to reduce. 

I served the leeks alongside a juicy pork chop and a root vegetable roast! 

A funny thing about these wild leeks, they sort of stink up your house. I wouldn't have noticed but for the fact that I left the house came back and noticed the smell! I lit a candle and the smell went away. No biggie. 

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