For two years now, I've been trying to work this one out. I haven't written about it because I had hopes of finding the key to the problem and then presenting you, our readers, with an explanation. I give up. I know that there is an edible plant in the US known as "ramps" or "ramson" and that it resembles garlic. And I know that there is an edible plant in France known as "aillet" that resembles garlic. What I can't figure out is a) whether ramps=aillet and b) whether "aillet" is just young garlic shoots or another, related, plant. Heaven knows I've tried. This site describes it as "a green garlic shoot that looks like a small leek and can be eaten raw with salt". But is it the same family as garlic or, literally, just young garlic?
So I'm putting out a call to those of you who have better French/English dictionaries or culinary dictionaries than I do - or even those who can recognise ramps in a photo. What is this stuff? The Larousse Gastronomique is strangely silent on the subject and none of my dictionaries includes the culinary definition of a ramp (though I do know how to get on or off a highway, you'll be happy to know). So help me out, do!
By the way, the above photo also includes young shallots. The shoots with the slight purple tinge on the bottom are the aillet.
And although I don't know the whole story about the species of aillet or its name in English, I do know from experience a little about cooking with it. God and our host server willing, I'll be posting a couple of recipes in the next few days to share with the world!
Note: I have just realised that we have temporarily shut down the comments function on our site while we overcome some technical difficulties. So if you want to enlighten me about this conundrum, please send me a message at my New and Improved Email Address: Meg (at) toomanychefs.com. I promise you will get full credit from me when I publish the answer!
UPDATE: Comments seem to be back in order if anyone else wants to point out how clueless I've been!