Pickled Ramps Escabeche (Puerto Rican Style Picked Ramps)

I was 20 minutes late to meet a friend for lunch last week. We've been friends since college, so he knew well enough to order a cocktail to sip until I arrived.

"Oooh, what's that?" I asked as I finally arrived, tossing off bags and sunglasses and waving the waitress over to put in my own drink order.

It was a martini. Served cold and garnished with pickled ramps instead of the usual olives.

"I've been all about the pickled ramps lately!" I exclaimed.

I know ramps are an annoying sort of thing to write about. They only grow in some parts of the country and even then only for about 5 minutes (give or take). But when you try them? You get it.  The look and texture of a scallion or spring onion, they're garlicky and grassy and majorly flavorful. I like them whipped into salad dressings or chopped in with the greens. I saute them and add to omelets and pastas and all sorts of other simple dishes.

This year was the first time I pickled them, and I chose an easy recipe by Puerto Rican chef José Enrique, who prepares them escabeche style.

Escabeche is a simple olive oil and vinegar pickling sauce that's served a lot in Puerto Rico (and much of the Caribbean). It's common with fish, plantains, and now...ramps!

Make a big batch to keep in a jar in the fridge. You can add them to your salads, as a garnish on top of grilled meat or, yes, in an ice-cold martini!

Like this recipe? Try my Easy Soy Sauce Vegetable Pickles or these Quick Pickled Red Onions!

Puerto Rican Style Pickled Ramps
Adapted from a recipe by Jose Enrique, Saveur

1 pound ramps, rinsed and patted dry, root ends trimmed
1/2 cup olive oil + more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
3 whole bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat (cast-iron works perfectly). Drizzle with olive oil and arrange the ramps on the skillet, cooking a few minutes on each side until charred. Sprinkle with kosher salt, then transfer to a glass jar or bowl.

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil, vinegar, honey, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the hot vinegar sauce over the ramps. Cover and let cool completely before serving or refrigerating. 

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