My Dirt Time The Adventures of Tom Sciacca

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Wild Leek

"Let's try this one again. Not one of my best pics, but do you know what the plant is on the left side of this shot?" Answer: Wild Leek

Facts as borrowed from Wildman Steve Brill:

You recognize this premier member of the onion/garlic family by itís elongated-oval smooth-edged, stalked leaves, 4-12 inches long and 1 to 2-1/2 inches wide, emerging in dense stands from the floor of moist, open woodlands throughout Eastern North America every spring.

Crush any part of the plant, and its familial affinity will hit you right in the nose. Lily-of-the-valley, beautiful but deadly (it reminds me of my ex-girlfriend) has similar leaves, but no odor.

Ramp leaves die back when tree leaves block the sunlight from reaching them in late spring, but a slender, smooth, erect flower stalk, 6 inches to 1-1/2 feet tall, supports a small, umbrella-like cluster of 6-petaled white to cream-colored flowers in early summer.

There are no two ways about it: Whether you use the leaves or the bulbs, this is simply the best-tasting member of the entire onion family, wild or commercial. You can use the leaves or bulbs raw or cooked. Any cooking method works, taking 5-15 minutes. Youíll find that ramps are terrific, and so is the resulting bad breath.

If you canít find ramps in the wild, you may purchase them in gourmet stores. Otherwise, substitute shallots.

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