I grew up in New England, and have only lived anywhere else for about 5 years. You would think I would have eaten ramps before in my life. Especially at Girl Scout camp, where I tried fiddleheads a few times. But no, I wait until I move to Florida, where they don’t grow, to decide I would like to try them. Of course, for a long, long time, I did not eat leeks, onions, scallions, any of those things. Thank God my tastes have changed.
So, anyway, it’s ramp season, but they do not grow in Miami. So, I mail-ordered some from Earthy Delights. I’m sorry, I know it wasn’t very locavore of me. But they are healthy! They have vitamins C and A, iron, fiber, and all those nice anti-cancer sulfur compounds.
This month’s Bon Appétit had some great recipes. I found a few other great recipes, and I made one up – Gnudi with Tomato, Pea, and Ramp Sauce. So I thought I would share them with you.
Ramp Compound Butter This sounds so amazing, I have to make it with whatever is left over after the pizza! (Updated: This was amazing!)
Updated: Chez Us posted a fabulous recipe for steak with morels and ramps that I simply must try. At least morels I don’t have to mail order.
Gourmet’s Spaghetti with Ramps We had this for dinner tonight. It was good, but not mind-blowing. Very pretty, though. The ramps turned a brilliant green, and the sauce is like a pesto. We added asparagus and skipped the breadcrumb topping.
Here are 5 more things you can do with ramps:
- Grill them. Coat them with oil and grill until soft and browned.
- Saute them in olive oil and add to pasta or eggs
- Roast whole ramps rubbed with olive oil at 425 until soft.
- Puree sauteed or poached ramps, add to potato or egg salad
- Marinate simmered ramps in champagne vinegar and olive oil over night
Gnudi with Tomatos, Peas, and Ramps
Serves 4 for appetizers, 2 for dinner
The sauce is mine, but the gnudi recipe is from zencancook.com. I don’t have a picture of the completed dish (embarrassingly blurred), but here are some pictures of the gnudi:
1 lb fresh ricotta (the regular grocery store ricotta will not work)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiana cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups semolina
Mix the ricotta, parmigiana, lemon juice, and nutmeg together well in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste.
Place 1/3 of the semolina in a cake pan.
Using a pastry bag and a large straight tip, pipe dollops of batter onto the semolina, about 1 tbsp each.
When all batter has been piped, cover the gnudi with the remainder of the semolina, and put the cake pan, uncovered, into the refrigerator.
Wait. It may take 1 day, it may take 3 days, until the gnudi are dry enough to cook. They have to be firm to the touch, with a thick skin on the outside. They won’t deform easily when they are ready.
If you do not wait long enough, the gnudi will fall apart as soon as you cook them.
When they are dry enough, carefully remove them from their blanket of semolina and round them slightly. Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to cook. Reserve the semolina for the next time you make them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Turn down the heat a bit, so it is just rolling. Cook about 6 gnudi at a time, for no more than 2 minutes (they will start to float up from the bottom), and remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Drain well and place in serving plate. Add sauce. Sprinkle with more grated cheese.
Tomato, Pea, and Ramp Sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
5-6 fresh sage leaves
1 slice bacon, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup fresh peas
4 oz of ramps, cleaned thoroughly, stems separated from tops
Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Fry the sage leaves until crispy.
Add the bacon pieces and fry until soft but not crisp.
Add the tomato, peas, and wine. Saute until the peas begin to soften.
Add the ramps at the end, and saute just until soft.
Serve over gnudi with grated cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.