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Monday, June 29, 2009

Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs


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(Step by step photos on how to pickle wild leek bulbs or ramp bulbs)

Asian Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulb Recipe

Picture 1 of 11

wild leek bulbs-- PICKLED! yowza - that's spicy

It’s the end of wild leek or ramp season, and what’s left in some markets are just the bulbs, which last much longer than the entire thing. For these strays, it’s best to pickle and preserve so that you’ll get to enjoy them all year long.

I just learned that in the South, where they are harvested in April, they are called RAMPS. In the north, they are called WILD LEEKS. Why the difference? I really don’t know….readers?

If you’ve never had wild leeks/ramps before, here’s what they look like fresh – a photo I found at a great website called The Forager Press:

wild leek ramps

From what I understand, Wild Leeks have a bigger bulb and more pungent flavor. Leeks have skinnier, smaller bulbs (like that photo right above)

Wild Leeks or Ramps are basically a wild onion – and the taste is like if you smashed an onion with a clove of garlic. Yes, quite pungent. Eat too many of these babies…and let’s just say…don’t plan on any nookie tonight.

If you’re lucky to find ramp bulbs or wild leek bulbs, PICKLE THEM!! I seared for a perfect Asian-style recipe and BINGO – found it on Chow. And get this…the recipe originates from picklin’ god himself, David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Momo-frickin’-fuku!

Yeah, recipe is a definite keeper – FANTASTIC.

Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs Recipe

recipe adapted from David Chang of Momofuku Noodle Bar via Chow. You can find wild leek/ramp bulbs from Earthy.com. Hurry – only a few more days left before they run out!

This is a perfect pair-with-beer or pair-with-sake type of little pickle. Just make sure your girlfriend or boyfriend is eating the same thing as you. If you are using whole ramps (bulb and leaves, you can use the entire thing, unless the leaves are old…then in that case just use the bulbs and trim off the leaves)

1 pound ramps bulbs (or whole ramps), trimmed and washed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tablespoon table salt)
1 tablespoon Japanese seven spice (Shichimi Togarashi)
1 1/2 teaspoons Korean crushed red pepper (kochukaru) or other mild crushed chili pepper

1. Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Briefly blanch the ramp bulbs in salted water. If using entire young ramp (small bulb + leaves) no need to blanch. Drain and set aside.

2. Combine all ingredient except the ramp bulbs in the saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the ramp bulbs to the brine mixture in the pan. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer to a smaller nonreactive container, cover tightly, and place in the refrigerator overnight. You could also can the pickled ramp bulbs.

Another great recipe using ramps is No Recipes’ Ramp Kimchi



21 Responses to “Momofuku’s Pickled Wild Leek/Ramp Bulbs”

  1. MyLastBite — 6/29/09 @ 1:10 am

    I never found ramps at my local farmer’s market this season, but will definitely save this recipe for next year’s hunt.

    AWESOME photos (as always). Cheers!

  2. Ravenouscouple — 6/29/09 @ 2:00 am

    this recipe sounds sooo much better then the pickled stuff found at the asian groceries…will def. have to give this a try when we find some.

  3. I’ve never seen that… I have to find some! Your pictures a so beautiful!!!

  4. Lisa — 6/29/09 @ 3:59 am

    The hubbs and I love just about anything pickled.. he makes a mean pickled egg. :) Saving recipe and will be searching out wild leeks at the farmer’s market next weekend! Thanks, gorgeous!

    xoxo

    you know I’ve never made pickled eggs before!? i’m in a big pickling mood – send recipe over! ~j

  5. Jen H — 6/29/09 @ 9:26 am

    Oh man, I’ll have to forage in the forest this weekend! They might already be done up here in Toronto. I made a killer pesto with them last month.

    oh wow, i wish i could learn how to forage! ~j

  6. OMG, those look so good! I’m a pickle-holic and if you can only see me now….licking your beautiful photo gallery…..love the crushed red pepper! But it doesn’t taste the same off my monitor.

  7. dhanes — 6/29/09 @ 1:12 pm

    Hi Jaden,

    Here’s where I bought this years ramps – http://www.bloggingwv.com/wild-ramps-for-sale/ .

    And here’s a recipe similiar to Momofuku’s –

    http://www.norecipes.com/2008/04/29/ramp-kimchi-ramp-confit/

    perfect – i’ll link to it in the body of the post ~j

  8. The Single Guy — 6/29/09 @ 4:15 pm

    I never had wild leeks until a dinner at a fancy restaurant a few weeks ago. They didn’t look like what I think of leeks at all. It’s like a scallion to me. Pinkling sounds like a good way to go, and with Momofuku god behind you, it should be perfect!

  9. Marc @ NoRecipes — 6/29/09 @ 10:28 pm

    Hi Jaden, not sure about the north/south distinction as we call them Ramps here in NYC too. I’ve been pickling them all season and have become hooked (I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I run out). Love the addition of chili to this version.

    The spring leaves make really good kimchi (recipe on my site) and I’ve really become quite fond of pairing pickled ramps with sashimi.

  10. Marc @ NoRecipes — 6/29/09 @ 11:57 pm

    LOL I just noticed you’d already posted a link to my kimchi. Now I feel a bit silly for mentioning it. Thanks for the link:-)

    The kimchi is really good wrapped around slices of sashimi, or even with just some hot rice.

  11. David Eger — 6/30/09 @ 1:19 pm

    Holy mackerel, those babies look good! Guess I’m going to have to try pickling some myself, Jaden. Our pickers (diggers?) are still bringing them in, so I guess we’ll have them for at least a few more weeks.

  12. Joe — 6/30/09 @ 1:36 pm

    Those pickled leeks look deeeeelish! I wonder if it’ll work well with something else, like regular leeks, scallions, or even shallots…

  13. Carolyn Jung — 6/30/09 @ 8:26 pm

    I was lucky enough to try some of Momofuku’s pickled ramps when I was in NY in May. They came with a sashimi-style dish. Absolutely added a perfect twangy touch to it all.

  14. Kevin — 7/5/09 @ 10:36 am

    I should have pickled some of the ramps when they were available.

  15. LoveFeast Table — 7/19/09 @ 11:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! Momofuku has been the restaurant highlight of the year for me! Any way you can get the brussel sprout recipe?!! http://lovefeasttable.com/blog/oh-my-momofuku/

  16. ThisFineLife — 12/9/09 @ 1:32 am

    Aww I have to try this. I love pickled leeks & I know what you mean by eating too many of them. xo

  17. Leah — 4/19/13 @ 10:42 am

    So glad I stumbled across this recipe! I live in Virginia and acquired 3 grocery bags of beautiful ramps last night and was trying to decide how to preserve them. So today I guess I’ll be making pickled bulbs and ramp green kimchi (found that idea at No Recipes last night)! :D

  18. tam — 5/22/13 @ 3:25 pm

    hi just picked a bunch and want to try this recipe but how long do they last in the fridge? To jar them for months what would this require? Jar bath and such?
    Thanks!

    • SteamyKitchen — 5/23/13 @ 7:10 am

      Without the traditional canning (jar bath) they’ll last for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

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  20. Song — 2/7/14 @ 12:01 pm

    Don’t buy pickled leek from Vietnam because of dangerous chemicals in its liquid. To test, put some fresh sliced garlic in the jar and wait for few days. The garlic will turned blue.

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