With the onset of spring, for most cooks (myself included), there is one product I am always very excited for: Ramps.
These wild spring onions are foraged material, with a short season, only lasting a few weeks to maybe a month. The taste of a raw ramp can usually be described as zingy, a mix between a scallion and garlic, with a certain earthy quality.
Its little surprise that someone who loves to cook would love ramps. The flavor is unique and versatile at the same time. Add to that the hype of only being available a few weeks a year, and you have a deadly combination.
So before the season is officially over, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to utilize the little wild onion.
This puree can be utilized in various ways, such as making butter (see below), or adding as a finishing touch to risotto or soups for a final kick and bright color.
ramp leaves in any amount, save bulbs
Blanch leaves in a pot for about 30 seconds, or until the leaves turn a vibrant green. Add to a blender with a little bit of the cooking water.
Blend leaves until smooth and cool down immediately in a metal bowl resting in a larger bowl of ice water. This will maintain the color. Use within 3 days or freeze for up to two months.
1 C ramp Puree
3 C High Butterfat butter, softened but not melting
Depending on the softness of the butter, you can mix by hand or in a stand mixer. Mix together until full incorporated, then roll into a log and freeze. Holds for up to three months.
Pickled Ramp Bulbs
8 oz ramp bulbs, cleaned
1 C Rice wine vinegar
1/2 C Sugar
1/4 C Water
Chilli peppers, bay leaves, black peppercorns
Combine all ingredients except bulbs and aromatics in a pot, and bring to simmer. Add bulbs and aromatics to a heat-proof container. Pour pickling liquid over bulbs and seal. Holds for a year or more if unopened.
Grilled Ramp Condiment
This is great on burgers, steaks, chicken, you name it – a summer grilling speciality.
1 lb ramp bulbs, grilled
1 bu parsley
1 C Olive oil
1/4 C Ramp pickling liquid
Salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and season to taste.