We’ll be heading to the wild ramp supper in West Virginia this weekend to celebrate one of the first wild foods of spring.
On the way, we’re stopping to see a friend who may not be able to go to the supper. We’re packing a frozen block of ramp butter in our bag to leave with him in case. It’s one of the best ways we know to make the most of a small amount of ramps, and spread its pungent onion+garlic+greens flavor on bread, pasta, mashed potatoes, in eggs of all kinds, asparagus, grilled pork, steak, fish shellfish, risotto, whatever!
We learned the method from Ellen Silverman who learned it from food stylist Cyd McDowell. It’s the roughest of approaches that allows you to gauge the rampiness of the butter and calibrate as you wish.
Trim the root ends off a handful of ramps and slip off any loose outer skin from the bulbs. If the ramps still have dirt on them, wash and spin them dry in a salad spinner. Chop the ramps, both bulb and leaves, and add to the workbowl of a food processor. Pulse to chop them a bit more, than add some good butter and process; taste and add more butter until you get the flavor you like. If the butter isn’t salted, add sea salt to taste.
Since we’ve been getting creme fraiche and heavy cream from a farm upstate, we’ve been making our own butter to use it up. We just put it in a food processor and let it run, until the butter clumps and separates from the whey. We scoop out the butter and wash it under cold water, then add a few grains of flaky sea salt. You’ll find the detailed method here.
It occurred to us we could make butter and ramp butter at one go by adding everything to a food processor. Then we discovered that our old friend Andrea Gentl of Gentl and Hyers had already done it, and photographed it to boot. You’ll find the method at her blog Hungry Ghost. (She also has a version made with nettles. The method can be used with variety of greens, including chives and cress…)
She cleverly saves the rampy whey and uses it to flavor biscuits.