Give Salsa Verde A Garlicky Kick With Ramps

Salsa verde is the ultimate condiment to top everything from breakfast food to savory late-night bites. It's a concoction borne of the Mexican culinary tradition, one that traces all the way back to the Aztecs, and has its roots in two ingredients: tomatillos (or Mexican husk tomatoes) and green chile peppers. Other ingredients that can be added include onions, cilantro, and avocados, and the sauce complements everything from typical Mexican fare to salads and fruit. 

But even the most revered of sauces can sometimes use a little extra something. The perfect something? A garlicky kick, courtesy of ramps. Sometimes called wild leeks, ramps are in the allium family and are closely related to chives, shallots, and garlic. Flavorful ramps are not usually the first allium or aromatic that comes to mind when meal prepping. The buzzy vegetable is typically foraged for, meaning it likely won't be as commonly available in your local grocery store as a clove of garlic or a big white onion. But if you need to add some real tang to your salsa verde, the perfect ingredient for taste and texture is the ramp.

There is a long history of the interplay across cultures between tomatoes, peppers, and alliums. Garlicky ingredients tend to deepen the flavor profile of tomatoes and other sweet, citrus-forward ingredients. Though distantly related, the same can be said for ramps' ability to deepen the tangy citrus of the tomatillos used in salsa verde. The slight spice of ramps is a complement to the mild heat of the green chiles used in the salsa as well, making them a sound choice to add some garlicky pep.

How do I add ramps to my salsa verde?

Ramps are usually an easy find at farmer's markets in spring and early summer, as they're a food that's most often foraged for. Besides their mouth-watering flavor, ramps are also a versatile ingredient that can be wielded in a number of ways to upgrade your salsa verde. They can be eaten raw, but blanching the leaves first to mellow their strong flavor is going to be the easiest way to incorporate them. This Tasting Table creamy salsa verde recipe offers a delicious salsa base in which to experiment with the addition of a little (or a lot) of ramp. 

For those looking into bolder salsa verde upgrades, chopped ramps can be added with the other ingredients into a food processor to make a more pungent purée. And it wouldn't be salsa verde without some mention of breakfast. Chopped up ramps are a common addition to the classic morning-time meal, the omelet. Omelets are the perfect canvas for a spoonful of ramp salsa verde, especially with just a hint of the veggie incorporated into the omelet itself.