Even with temperamental temperatures, pollen-inducing allergies and all-around unpredictability in the air, spring is my favorite season.

It ushers in an abundance of life, with nature springing into bloom in flowers and produce. This is my call to venture out to the farmers’ markets around the city.

I heeded this call yesterday, and as I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket, I noticed a pungent scallion-like scent wafting in the air.  I was mesmerized by it.  It had me thinking about what I would make for dinner.

Then I found out the scent wasn’t from freshly-picked scallions, but from ramps. A new world had opened up to me.

Ramps, also known as wild leeks, have a very short season, only available in certain parts of the country from late March to early May. Their flavor combines the sweetness of an onion with garlic’s spicy bite. The buzz on ramps has increased over the last few years, at least here in New York, with many restaurants incorporating them on menus for the few weeks they are available.

Though I’d heard about them, I spotted them for the first time at the greenmarket.

Having never tried them, I asked one of the farmers how to use them. He suggested using the sauteed white bulbs in risotto, pasta or scrambled eggs, and wrapping fish with the leaves.

Another customer turned to me and said somewhat conspiratorially, “They are also really good on toast.”

That was a simple enough inspiration for me. I’d make crostini.

I sliced the white bulbs and sauteed them in butter and olive oil until they were tender. I threw in the chopped the greens at the last minute, wilting them as they hit the heat of the pan. Then I put them on a sliced baguette and topped the whole thing with shavings of pecorino cheese.

It was like a ray of sunshine on a misty spring day.  And a perfect light lunch.

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