Every spring there's always one seasonal vegetable that I wish I could preserve or get all year long. Most spring vegetables, like asparagus, are available throughout the year in the supermarket. But there's one vegetable that's so special it only comes around once per year. That's ramps. Since the season of ramps is short-lived and nearly over, I've taken every opportunity to create some great dishes. Now that I've bought my last bunches, I'm ready to pickle.
Pickled ramps are simply wonderful. If you've never had them before, now is the time to try. Flavor the brine however you want. I've tried many spice combinations, but this time I'm using spicy Korean flavors. The ramps take on the taste of kimchi with the Korean red pepper powder, kochukaru. These spicy ramps add zip to any dish. You can even mix some pickled ramps into stir-fried rice or garnish salads or ramen or udon soups. They're even great for munching.
It's easy to pickle. Simply pour the hot brine over the ramps, packed tightly in a jar. Immediately tighten on the lid and the heat will seal the top so you can keep the jar in the pantry until ready to use. Otherwise, keep the pickles in the fridge if you don't intend to store them for long. You can leave the greens intact or remove them depending how you like it. I removed the greens that didn't fit into the jar and made ramp pesto. Use every bit of the ramp. It's too good to let any part of it go to waste.
Spicy Pickled Ramps
Recipe adapted from Momufuku by David Chang and Peeter Meehan.
2 bunches ramps (about 30 ramps)
3/4 cups rice vinegar
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kosher salt
2 teaspoons shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice)
2 teaspoons kochukaru (Korean red pepper powder) or hot paprika
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and spices. Bring to a boil, dissolving sugar.
Pour liquid over ramps in a sterilized canning jar. Leave a 1/4-inch space between the liquid and the top of the lid; tighten on a self-sealing lid.
With an air-tight seal, the pickled pickled ramps can be stored in the pantry for up to a year. Otherwise, refrigerate.