It's ramp season in New York! Earlier yesterday, my neighborhood co-op tweeted that they just got a shipment of ramps in stock, which my friend Barb relayed to me via text. I was working on taxes at the time and wading through a mountain of receipts, so I was more than happy for an excuse to escape spreadsheets for a while and stroll (okay, powerwalk) to the store.
Ramps, also known as wild leeks, are pretty much in season for about 3 weeks here, making them highly sought after by chefs and anyone crazy enough about food to follow farmers markets and co-ops on Twitter. They're grown only in the eastern part of the US and Canada, so the year I spent in San Francisco, land of copious farmers markets, was sadly ramp-free. The flavor of ramps is a like a combination of garlic and onion, with a mellow earthy flavor. You can use it in anything you would normally use onions, scallions, leeks, and garlic in, such as omelets, savory tarts, pasta dishes, and pizza.
Today I decided to make dumplings with ramps and an especially pretty bunch of Swiss chard that was also in the store.
For the dumpling filling, I sautéed the leaves of the chard and chopped ramps with some cremini mushrooms. I added a bit of sugar to balance out of tiny amount of bitterness in the Swiss chard leaves. (With the leftover chard stems, I made roasted them with Parmesan following this post on Kalyn's Kitchen. So delicious.)
What's amazing about the ramps is that they lent so much flavor to the dumpling filling that I didn't need to add salt or pepper. I had a whole plate of cooked dumplings without even dipping them in soy sauce, they were that flavorful. (Though of course you can if you'd like.) And this is coming from someone who is a salt fiend.
So if you'd like to try making these dumplings with ramps, follow the recipe below with a link to the step-by-step folding guide. If you're reading this sometime in the future, well past spring, you can substitute the ramps with scallions, shallots, or leeks, plus a bit of garlic.
And fellow ramp enthusiasts, what are you planning on making with ramps during these next few weeks?
Ramp and Swiss Chard Dumplings
Makes 30 to 40 dumplings
- 1 small bunch ramps (about 1/4 pound or even a little less)
- 1 large bunch Swiss chard
- 4 to 5 cremini mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 pack store-bought dumpling wrappers
- Remove the roots of the ramps and discard. Finely chop both the stems and leaves. Separate the Swiss chard leaves from the stems. Chop the leaves into small bite-sized pieces and save the stems for roasting, vegetable stock, or discard. Finely chop the mushrooms.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-low to medium heat. Sauté the ramps for about 1 minute, until very aromatic. Add the mushrooms and cook for another minute. Add the Swiss chard leaves and allow them to cook down for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and mix well. Transfer the vegetable filling to a plate to cool.
- If you’re just starting out with dumpling folding, follow this step-by-step guide that shows a basic method with 3 pleats per dumpling. If you’d like to work your way up to 5 pleats, start in the middle and do 3 pleats towards the middle from one direction and and 2 pleats toward the middle from the other. (See these photos for reference.)
- Pan-frying*: Have about 1/3 cup water, a large skillet, and a lid for the skillet handy. Heat the skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over high heat and swirl the oil around the pan. Wait about 1 minute for the oil to heat up. (You can also use a small piece of extra dumpling wrapper or piece of bread to test whether the pan is hot enough; it should sizzle immediately upon being placed in the pan.) Once the pan is hot, place the number of dumplings you want to cook smooth side down in the pan. Allow them to sear for about 1 minute, until the bottoms turn golden brown.
- Add the water, cover immediately with a lid, and let the dumplings steam for another 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover the lid to allow any extra water to evaporate before turning off the heat. Loosen the dumplings with a spatula and transfer them to a plate. (Whatever you don’t cook can be frozen for later. Dumplings can be put on the pan frozen, no defrosting required. Just add one extra minute of steaming.)
- Transfer to serving plates, and serve with alone or soy sauce.
*Note: To boil the dumplings instead, bring a pot of water to boil. Add dumplings and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain well.
More dumpling recipes:
- Shrimp and Chive Dumplings
- Pork and Cabbage Dumplings
- Pea and Shiitake Dumplings
- Chicken and Apple Dumplings
More ramp recipes:
- Ramp Greens Kimchi from Hungry Tigress
- Ramp Udon Soup with Bacon Consommé and Asparagus Tempura from Habeas Brulée
- Sweet and Sour Ramps from Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
- Quick Pasta with Dried Morels and Fresh Ramps from The Kitchn
- Salsa Verde with Ramps from Not Eating Out in New York
- Ramp, Bacon, and Ricotta Tart from Eggs on Sunday