I don't remember where I first heard about them, but up there with fiddlehead ferns, ramps seem to be one of those vegetables that only food snobs and redneck locavores seem to know about. Personally, I'd never seen one (a ramp, not a redneck locavore - I'd seen plenty of those at farmers' markets when we lived in Kentucky).
But yesterday a guy at the farmers' market at Crocker Park had them for sale. I think I paid $4 for a bunch of them (scandalous for something he probably ripped out of the woods behind his house the night before*), then I scurried home and did some research to figure out what the heck I was going to do with these things.
The consensus seemed to be that I should fry them in bacon grease along with some combination of potatoes, eggs, and cheese, which is what I ended up doing. While I was getting every pan in the house dirty and creating a cloud of rampy bacon grease in the bedroom (we have weird ventilation in our house), Jason browsed through the recipe I had left open on the laptop, commenting that it was nice that they didn't specify if the "streaked meat" was supposed to be bacon, beef, or that pesky McCoy kid from the next holler over. Ha, ha - your SW Virginia relatives will really appreciate that joke, dear.
Anyhow, the fried potatoes with ramps and cheese were a moderate success. I'm not a big fan of fried sliced potatoes, and the flavor of the ramps wasn't really noticeable - until an hour later, when it made regular recurrences in my throat for the rest of the morning. Urp.
I still had a mess of them left over, so I cooked what had to be the biggest travesty of expensive organic ingredients ever - tacos made with ramps and the first organic ground beef I've ever bought. I know, I know - such a waste to use the ingredients where I couldn't actually taste them, sort of like using $4/half gallon organic milk to make instant pudding or something. But the tacos were good, and I could honestly tell Jason that they came from happy cows - or at least from cows that had been happy right up until they were slaughtered. And the ramps and ground beef were both from Ohio, something I definitely couldn't have said if I'd bought onions and a pack of ground beef at the grocery store instead of the farmers' market.
* Now that I know what they look like, I'm fairly certain that we actually have one or two of these things growing in our front yard. Mixed in with the crocus are a few plants that I always thought were tulips that were too old to bloom anymore - we get the foliage and nothing else. Well, the foliage on ramps is virtually identical to that of tulips - so maybe next year I'll pull one up and fry it up in some rendered Shirtless Redneck Neighbor, just for fun.