Go to any farmer’s market and you’ll likely find ramps, nettles, spring onions, and field garlic, Spring’s mostly wild offerings. One of the best ways to capture their flavors is to blend them into good butter that you can eat on bread, pasta, mashed potatoes, asparagus, grilled pork, steak, fish shellfish, risotto, in eggs of all kinds. You can freeze the butter to have on hand all summer. It is an especially good way to make maximize the pungent oniony-garlicky-green flavor of ramps.
Here are two methods for making Spring Greens Butter with spring greens…even chives, nasturtums and cress…(If you want to use nettles, be sure to wear gloves when handling them).
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 intensity of flavoring in the butter and calibrate as you wish.
Trim the root ends off a handful of ramps or other spring greens 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 greens, both bulb and leaves, and add to the work bowl 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 at once and letting it run. The processor would chop the greens while whirring the cream until it turned to butter, separating from the buttermilk.
Then we discovered that our old friend Andrea Gentl had already tried it and photographed it to boot. You’ll find the method at her blog Hungry Ghost.
She cleverly saves the rampy whey and uses it to flavor biscuits.