In Season

The Great Ramp Debate Ramps Up

Photo: Lisa Hubbard/Getty Images

Yesterday, Josh Ozersky admitted in his weekly column that he didn’t know what ramps looked like until recently, and got David Kamp to back up his opinion (not exactly shared by chefs he interviewed) that the ingredient is becoming as overly fetishized as arugula (as today’s video encounter with Robbie Richter and Zac Pelaccio goes to show, Mr. Cutlets is more one for meat). “For food snobs,” Kamp says, “ramps are overcelebrated and overly scrutinized, like the first ballgame played in April, even with 161 more games ahead.” And today, in a rant against small plates, ill-conceived pizzas, inappropriate tasting menus, and other annoying trends, Steve Cuozzo unleashes on ramps, too.

Most “spring” menus are cruel teases. The good stuff we really want, like local peas and asparagus, doesn’t turn up for at least another month. So impatient chefs smother us in ramps, the garlicky, leek-like wild onions that come out of the ground in March. They’re supposed to presage the glorious bounty to come. Instead, they remind us of winter’s bottomless pit of turnips and rutabaga. I’d rather eat wild grass on the High Line.

So the Cuozz hates fancy pizzas and rampant ramp usage? One can only imagine how he feels about the tripe and ramp pizza at Colicchio & Sons. Either way, Cuozzo better brace himself — as New York’s most recent “In Season” column pointed out, it’s going to be a banner year for the stalks.

Oh, and rest assured they still have their defenders: The Voice’s Robert Sietsema recounts an all-ramp dinner he recently prepared.

As for us? We prefer calçots.

On Ramps [NYM]
The Gripes of Wrath [NYP]
For Foodies, Ramps Are the New Arugula [Time]
Weekend Special: What Can You Do With Ramps? Here Are Four Suggestions [Fork in the Road/VV]

The Great Ramp Debate Ramps Up