Gourmandistan

Ramp-a-lama-ding-dong

Spring is teasing its way into Gourmandistan, and our nation’s population is bouncing in anticipation of fresh, green things to eat. (These things do include spiders and bugs, but only for the cats.)  This past Saturday Steve snagged several bunches of ramps, one of the first local greens to pop up, from the Foxhollow Farm Store.

Ramps, like onions, garlic and leeks, are part of the lily family and grow wild in moist forests across eastern North America—especially in Appalachia. They smell very much like garlic, but their taste leans a bit toward leeks.

We’re not really sure what to call our first round of ramp usage, but we’ve settled on “flatbread.” Michelle sautéed some ramps (both green and white parts) in butter, while Steve rolled rolled out two extra-thin crusts from a hunk of pizza dough he’d pulled from the freezer. We baked the dough naked for five minutes, then topped the crisping rounds with the ramps, creme fraîche, diced prosciutto and several gratings of aged Emmentaler cheese. It was light, crunchy and delicious, with a great ramp aroma. (We’ve got more ideas planned for flatbread—stay tuned.)

Later, some ramp crostini brought a little zest to a somewhat bland (but surprisingly addicting) Bolognese sauce Michelle made as she continues to explore Italian cuisine.

Perhaps the best round of ramps featured ravioli. We’re getting better at banging out the little ricotta pockets, and sautéed ramps again worked their magic to nicely flavor the bland cheese.

We ate them with some chicken broth, plus a little fresh  green ramp chiffonade on top that really brought the scent of Spring to our meal.

That pretty much put an end to our current batch of ramps—but as soon as the weather warms up again Steve plans on getting Michelle out into our own patch of moist woods to see if we can scare up a few more for free.

RAMP RAVIOLI FILLING

  • 1 small bunch ramps
  • Olive oil
  • 1 c. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper

Chop white roots of ramps, and thinly slice the leaves. Sauté roots in olive oil until soft, then add leaves and cook just until wilted. Let cool.

Mix cooled ramps with remaining ingredients.

Will fill about a dozen large ravioli.

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