WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Aside from pepperoni rolls, you’d be hard-pressed to name a Mountain State food more recognizable than ramps.

It may be pungent, but we love it—and West Virginians don’t even have to go to the store to get some.

The power of the wild onion isn’t lost on State Tourism Chef Ambassador Matt Welsch, who runs Wheeling’s Vagabond Kitchen restaurant and is using its harvest season as an opportunity for some eclectic dishes.

“When we eat ramps – our people who love ramps – it’s almost like you’re celebrating your history, right? Like this is my culture.”

Matt Welsch, Chef and owner-operator, Vagabond Kitchen

He says that while it may be something of a niche ingredient, its applications are anything but.

Welsch showed Nexstar’s WTRF a cream cheese ramp dip, a ramp pesto, and even says he recently made a ramp latke. But he kept it simple with a fried ramps and potatoes demonstration.

“The bulbs are kind of like garlic, but then the tops, they still taste garlicky, but the tops act more like basil,” Welsch says.

He says that while it may be something of a niche ingredient, its applications are anything but.

Welsch showed me a cream cheese ramp dip, a ramp pesto, and even says he recently made a ramp latke.

But he kept it simple showing WTRF a fried ramps and potatoes demonstration. You’ll need both the ramp bulbs and greens for this dish.

After that, it’s just a matter of cutting up some potatoes, pouring some oil in the pan and adding a touch of salt and pepper. After adding the greens later on, he finished it off with some fry sauce, making for one delicious West Virginia delicacy.

“It’s a traditional West Virginia staple of the springtime, and it just tastes good and stuff, and when you can go out and gather it in your yard, like how much cooler is that?”

Matt Welsch, Chef and owner-operator, Vagabond Kitchen

In the ground today, in a dish tomorrow—how’s that for almost heaven? You’re missing out if you haven’t had Vagabond Kitchen’s ramp recipes.

Welsch posts them on Youtube under his channel ‘The Vagabond Chef.’