Add an onion flavor to foods with ramps

These springtime delicacies can be used to bring a pungent blend of onion and garlic to everyday meals

    Ramps are a spring delicacy, a wild onion that has a garlicky flavor that adds a special touch to foods.
    They’re known to be difficult to cultivate and have a short growing season — generally they can be harvested from April to June — so time is of the essence if you want to hunt for these springtime treats.
    Whether you find ramps or purchase them at a market, be forewarned that they are usually muddy and need to be cleaned well.
    To do that, cut off the root. If the outer layer is dry or slimy, gently peel it back until you reach a clean layer. Plunge the trimmed ramps into a large bowl or salad spinner filled with cold water and swish them gently. It may take several changes of water to get the ramps completely clean.
    It’s best to keep it simple when preparing ramps. Sautéing them in butter brings out more depth of flavor. After you’ve done that, you don’t need many other ingredients.
    Fresh ramps can go bad quickly, so after you clean them, dry them well and wrap them loosely in several layers of dry paper towels. Place them in a sealable plastic bag but don’t seal it all the way. They should keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
    You can, however, pickle them or make them into a compound butter that will keep for months.
    A compound butter is the easiest way to infuse the essence of ramps into many dishes. Slathering it on crostini, melting it on pasta or topping a baked potato with the butter adds a delicate onion flavor.
    In recipes, ramps are often combined with other spring vegetables, such as asparagus  or peas, in everything from a salad to a soup.  Or you can use them to add a dash of onion flavor to everyday items such as drop biscuits or quesadillas.
    Following are a few ramp recipes from and

Ramp and Chorizo Quesadillas

2 ounces fresh or cured chorizo, diced or crumbled finely
16 ramps, washed, trimmed, whites finely chopped, greens roughly chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces  grated Jack, cheddar, or Oaxacan string cheese
2 10-inch flour tortillas
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Heat chorizo in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook about four minutes, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered and chorizo is browned and crisp. Transfer chorizo to a large bowl, leaving rendered fat in skillet.
    Return skillet to medium-high heat until fat is lightly smoking. Add ramps, season with salt and pepper and cook two minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned. Transfer to bowl with chorizo and wipe out skillet.
    Add cheese to chorizo and ramps and toss. Spread half the cheese mixture over one half of one tortilla, leaving a small border around the edge. Fold tortilla firmly in half to enclose the cheese. Repeat with remaining tortilla.
    Heat oil in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add both folded tortillas and cook one to two minutes, shaking pan gently until first side is golden brown and puffed. Carefully flip tortillas with a flexible slotted spatula, sprinkle with salt and cook on second side one to two minutes, until golden brown and puffed. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and allow to rest one minutes. Cut each into four pieces and serve


Asparagus and Ramp Soup With Yogurt

2 pounds asparagus stalks, fibrous root end trimmed
Kosher salt
1 pound trimmed ramps or 1 clove garlic with 1 bunch sliced scallions.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
1 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped mint
    Cut the top inch off each asparagus stalk. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus tips and cook about one minute, until bright green and tender. Transfer to ice water to chill. Dry carefully and reserve.
    Add asparagus stalks to boiling water and cook two minutes, until bright green and tender. Transfer to ice water to chill. Transfer chilled stalks to the jar of a blender.
    Set aside eight ramps (if using scallions, set aside two whole sliced scallions). Heat one tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add remaining ramps and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until tender and lightly browned. Transfer to blender jar. Add broth and yogurt to jar and blend on high speed until completely smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Adding water if needed to reach a rich, soupy consistency.
    With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then strain through a fine mesh strainer if smoother texture is desired.
    Transfer to a medium saucepan and heat, stirring frequently.
    When ready to serve, stir in lemon juice. Melt remaining butter in a large skillet. Sauté ramps and asparagus tips until lightly browned, then transfer to a plate. Ladle soup into individual bowls and garnish with sauteed ramps, asparagus, chopped mint and an extra drizzle of olive oil.


Orange-Glazed Carrots With Ramp Barley and Spinach

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt
1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch segments on a bias
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
10 ramps, cleaned, trimmed, and finely sliced
6 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Extra-virgin olive oil

    Place barley in medium saucepan and cover with six cups water. Add one teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 30 minutes, until barley is just tender Remove from heat and set aside.
    Place carrots in a large saucepan or skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, one tablespoon butter, orange juice and zest. Add enough water cover by 1/2-inch. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer and cook about 20 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until carrots are completely tender and liquid has reduced to a saucy glaze. Season to taste with salt and remove from heat.
    Drain barley well. Heat remaining butter in a large skillet over medium-high until foaming subsides. Add ramps and cook 1-1/2 minutes, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly tenderized. Add spinach and two tablespoons water. Cook, stirring constantly until spinach is wilted. Add barley and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Transfer barley to a large plate. Reheat carrots, adding a tablespoon of water if needed to bring sauce together. Season with salt and pepper. Add parsley and toss to combine. Pour carrots and sauce over barley. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.


Puffy Ramp Frittata

6 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, tarragon, chives or a mix
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ramps, washed, whites sliced thinly, greens cut into 2-inch segments
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    Adjust rack to 8 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high.
    Combine egg yolks, three egg whites and the herbs in large bowl. Whisk until homogenous and frothy. Heat one tablespoon butter in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add ramps, season with salt and pepper and cook about two minutes, stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Add to bowl with eggs and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
    Whisk egg whites in a large bowl about three minutes, until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into egg and ramp mixture until a homogenous color is achieved. It’s ok if the whites deflate significantly. Season with salt and pepper.
    Heat remaining butter in the skillet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides, swirling the pan as butter melts. Add egg mixture and cook about 30 seconds, stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom and sides until partially set. Smooth top with spatula, then transfer to rack eight inches below a broiler heated to high.
    Broil about four minutes, until lightly puffed and golden brown on top. Carefully loosen frittata with a thin metal spatula until it moves freely in the skillet. Invert onto a serving plate or cutting board.
    Slice frittata and serve immediately.


Bacon and Ramp Dumplings

For dough:
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
For filling:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound ramps, whites finely sliced, greens roughly chopped
2 cups roughly chopped fresh napa cabbage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces bacon, roughly chopped
4 ounces fatty ground pork
1/4-inch disk fresh ginger, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
For serving:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinkiang or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
Vegetable oil

    To make dough, place flour in bowl of food processor. With machine running, slowly drizzle in water until cohesive dough is formed. You probably won’t need all the water. Allow dough to ride around processor for 30 seconds. Form into a ball using floured hands and transfer to a bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rest at least 30 minutes.
    For filling, heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add ramps and cook 30 to 60 seconds, stirring and tossing frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out wok.
    Place cabbage and salt in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a fine-meshed strainer set over a bowl. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.
    Combine ramps, drained cabbage, bacon, pork, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and rice wine in a food processor and pulse until a paste-like mixture is formed, scraping down sides as necessary.
    Microwave a small ball of the filling in a bowl for 10 seconds, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt, soy sauce, or sugar as necessary. Refrigerate.
    To make dumplings, divide dough into four sections, and split each piece into 10 tablespoon-sized balls, for a total of 40 balls. On a well-floured work surface, roll each ball until it’s 3-1/2 to four-inches in diameter. Stack and keep under plastic.
    To form dumplings, place one tablespoon filling in the center of a wrapper. Moisten the edges with a wet fingertip or a pastry brush. Fold in half and pinch the bottom-right corner closed. Pleat the front edge of the wrapper repeatedly, pinching the edge closed after each pleat until the entire dumpling is sealed. Transfer sealed dumplings to a lightly floured wooden or parchment-lined board.
    Combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and ginger in a small bowl and set aside.
    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add six to 12 dumplings and boil about one minute, until they float. Continue boiling two minutes longer, then transfer to a plate with a wire-mesh spider or slotted spoon. Heat three tablespoons vegetable oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet or the bottom of a well-seasoned cast wok over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add dumplings, flat-side down, and cook, swirling occasionally, until bottom of dumplings are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately with dipping sauce. Repeat with remaining dumplings.


Grilled Ramps

32 ramps, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    Place ramps on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss until well coated.
    If using a charcoal grill, light one chimney full of charcoal. When the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat five minutes.
    For a gas grill, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
    Place ramps on hot side of grill and cook about two minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and charred. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle with olive oil and serve.



Ramp Risotto With Blue Cheese

1/4 pound ramps with greens
Olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
5 to 6 cups hot chicken, veal or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces blue cheese

    Trim roots from the ramps and wash well. Cut off the greens and set aside. Cut the ramp bulbs and stems into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
    Boil a pot of water. Dip ramp greens into the water about 10 seconds, then plunge immediately into a cold water bath. Drain well and pat dry. Squeeze the blanched ramp leaves to release as much liquid as possible.
    Put ramp leaves into a food processor and process on high. Slowly pour in a few tablespoons olive oil until the ramps are whirling freely. Process until fairly smooth. Remove puree from the processor and set aside.
    Heat butter over moderate heat in a medium-sized sauce pan. Add sliced ramp bulbs and stems and cook about five minutes, stirring frequently, until ramps are slightly softened. Add arborio rice and continue to cook and stir for five minutes. Stir in wine and cook, continuing to stir, until it has been absorbed. Ladle in the hot stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As each ladleful is absorbed, add another until all the stock has been used or the rice is cooked through, but still slightly firm to the tooth.
    Remove from heat and stir in the pureed ramp/olive oil mixture. Serve immediately, sprinkling a little blue cheese on top of each portion.


Wild Rice Bowl With Ramps, Asparagus and Snap Peas

1 cup wild rice, uncooked
1 cup snap peas
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 bunch wild ramps, cleaned
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter

    In a medium pot over high heat, boil three cups water. Stir in wild rice, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 40 to 45 minutes, until kernels just begin to open. Fluff with fork and drain any excess cooking liquid. Set aside.
    Remove ends of asparagus, chop into 3/4-inch segments and set aside. Divide ramp greens from the stalks and bulbs. Chop the greens, dice the stalks and bulbs and set aside.
    In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. When foaming, add asparagus, season generously with salt and pepper and cook about four minutes, tossing frequently, until just slightly wilted. Remove asparagus from skillet and set aside.
    Return pan to medium heat and melt additional 1/2 tablespoon butter. Add snap peas and cook undisturbed until browned. Flip once and continue browning about four minutes, until both sides of peas are slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Add ramp greens and sauté about one minute, until wilted. Add ramp stems and bulbs, season with salt and pepper and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Over medium heat, melt remaining butter. Continue cooking butter until it begins to brown slightly, swirling pan to cook evenly. When lightly browned, add slivered almonds, salt and pepper, tossing to coat. Cook over medium heat about three minutes, until almonds are toasted.
    Reduce heat to low and add rice, asparagus, snap peas, ramp greens and bulbs. Toss to combine and serve warm.


Spaghetti With Ramp Pesto
8 ounces fresh ramps, washed, dried and separated into bulbs, stems and leaves
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1/2 cup pecorino toscana cheese, shredded
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges
16 ounces spaghetti

    In a large pot of salted water, blanche ramp bulbs and stems for two to three minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
    In a medium pan set over high heat, saute ramp leaves in oil until wilted. Remove and set aside to cool.
    Place ramps, pistachios and cheese in the bowl of a food processor, season with salt and pepper and pulse a couple times. With blade running, add oil in a thin stream until mixture is pureed and well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
    Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
    In a large bowl, toss hot spaghetti, two cups pesto and 1/2 cup hot pasta water until noodles are well coated. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
    Makes four servings.


Ramp and Goat Cheese Puffs

4 ounces ramps
4 ounces scallions
3 to 4 ounces goat Gouda, shredded
2 eggs
1/2 cup semolina
1/2 cup flour
1-1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Freshly ground pepper

    Chop scallions thinly crosswise. Chop ramps to about the same size as scallions. Beat eggs, then add to the vegetables. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Add yogurt, heavy cream and gouda, and mix.
    In another bowl, mix flour, semolina, baking powder and baking soda. Add to the vegetable mixture. Stir gently until combined.
    Distribute the mixture equally in muffin pan or molds that have been greased and floured.
    Bake in a 375-degree oven about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let puffs cool, then gently remove from the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Ramp and Sausage Lasagna

Olive oil
2 healthy bunches ramps, coarsely chopped
1 pound smoked pork sausage, casings removed, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 quart tomato sauce
1-1/2 pounds whole milk ricotta
1 pound fresh mozzarella
1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
Freshly ground black pepper
    In a medium Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat two tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add chopped ramps and sauté three to four minutes, until just softened. Place in a clean bowl and set aside.
    Add one tablespoon olive oil to the pot and heat to a shimmer. Brown sausage, in two batches if necessary, turning as needed to brown both sides. Add sliced garlic and sauté one minute. Deglaze with a splash of red wine vinegar, scraping up the fond. Add tomato sauce, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer.
    Add ricotta cheese to ramps and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate ramps evenly. Grate mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
    Spread a small amount of sauce evenly into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch lasagna pan. Lay down a layer of noodles, dollop with about one-third of the ricotta, then cover with one-third of the sauce. Spread evenly with a spatula, then top with one-third of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Add another noodle layer, pressing pasta firmly into the first layer, then repeat layering. For the top layer, use any remaining ricotta and tomato sauce and a small amount of grated cheese. Reserve the majority of the remaining cheese.
    Lightly coat a piece of foil that’s large enough to cover the baking dish with cooking spray. Cover pan tightly, oiled side down, and bake in a 400-degree oven about 45 minutes, until bubbly and pasta is nicely al dente. Uncover, sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and bake uncovered about 15 minutes, until cheese has browned. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
    Makes eight to 10 servings.


Ramp and Mushroom Quiche

For crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ramps, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups flour
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
For filling:
1 head garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ramps
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    For the crust,  combine butter, ramps, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and roll gently to form a log, twisting the ends to seal. Refrigerate until firm.
    In a medium bowl, combine flour and remaining salt. Add ramp butter and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add three tablespoons water and mix with a fork. If crumbly, add more water, one teaspoon at a time, until the ingredients start to come together. Lightly knead dough in the bowl until it forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a work surface and shape into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
    Remove dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for five to 10 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll into a 14-inch circle. Carefully transfer dough to a 9-inch springform pan, pressing it against the bottom and sides. Use a sharp knife to trim the edge of the dough so it comes about 2 inches up the sides. Transfer crust to the freezer and let chill.
    Cut about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic. Place garlic on a piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and fold to enclose. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
    Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Thinly slice nine ramps, separating white and green parts. Add white parts to the pan and sauté about two minutes, until soft. Add mushrooms and sauté about five minutes, until tender. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
    In a medium bowl, combine eggs and milk and whisk until smooth. Stir in Asiago cheese, salt, pepper, cooked vegetables and green parts of ramps.
    Remove the crust from the freezer. Carefully pour filling into the crust. Slice four roasted garlic cloves and scatter over filling. Top with remaining three ramps. Fold edge of dough over the filling and brush with some of the filling. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until the filling is slightly puffed and golden and the tip of a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove side of pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


Ramp Butter
1 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
6 to 8 ounces ramps, white and green parts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

    Trim root end and wash ramps thoroughly. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Blanch ramps for 30 seconds, then plunge into ice water. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Spread ramps on paper towels to dry a little more.
    If using a food processor, roughly chop ramps and place in the bowl. Add butter, lemon zest and juice. Process until they are the desired texture.
    If not using a food processor, finely chop ramps and place in a bowl with butter, lemon juice and zest. Mix until well combined.
    Add salt and pepper to taste.
    Store butter in air-tight containers in refrigerator for about a week. You can also roll butter into logs wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment pepper. butter can be frozen for several months.
    Makes 2-1/4 cups.


Ramp Spiked Dijon Yogurt Salad Dressing

2 tablespoons Dijon or country Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped ramps, stems and pale green parts only
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water

    Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend about 30 seconds to fully incorporate ramps.
    Dressing can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for as many as five days.
    Makes about one cup.



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