When I am at a really great concert I often get a flood of my own visionary ideas. There’s some connection about being moved by another’s inspired outpouring, someone working at a high creative and intuitive level that provokes from me a similar response. It feels almost like a conversation. But it is absolutely inspiration. A week ago I was at an NRBQ show in Albany, and even though the leader, Terry Adams, had nearly lost his voice, the whole event was exactly the kind of elevated experience that gets my mind whirling with ideas.
My friends can all attest to my passion for ramps, and since ramp/wild leek season is upon us, my flood of ideas that evening was focused on cooking with ramps. I’m going to spend the six weeks of ramp season working up recipes, cooking and taking photos. But for today I want to just offer a list of preparations I wrote while surrounded by great music, the pure intention coming from the stage, and the delight of the audience around me.
- Ramp and wild asparagus soup
- Grill ramp whites – or sauté to caramelize – serve along side grilled or roasted meat or a hearty fish. Use the greens to make compound butter
- Ramp Vichyssoise
- Purée greens with olive oil (perhaps a touch of truffle oil) to drizzle over grilled vegetables, fish, soup, and salad, bread.
- Puree whole ramps, combine with walnuts and sharp dry cheese for a pesto
- Dress dry-cooked or roasted cauliflower with ramp pesto or oil, garnish with fried ramps
- Crispy fried ramps
- Spanikopita using half spinach and half ramps
- Finely process whole ramps, stir into omelets or frittata.
- Classic Spanish Tortilla layered with a chiffonade of ramp greens
- Ramp Goddess Dressing
- Filo Strudel filled with ramp leaves, goat cheese, roasted mushrooms and red peppers, and spinach.
- Roast cubes of butternut squash with ramp whites, stir with crispy diced smoked bacon over winterberries or faro.
- Albanian Spinach Ramp pie
- Root vegetable and ramp hash
- Spring Chicken stuffing using ramps, corn bread and cracked black pepper
- Ramp custard – a sort of savory panna cotta
- Ramp leaves wrapped around tilapia, brushed with olive oil and baked.
- Ramp Ranch dressing – in paninis or rare roast beef sandwiches.
- Ramp Soufflé
I’m sure I’ll come up with many more in the coming weeks. Let me know if you want to try planting some ramps in your garden. Or stop by to try the latest wild combinations.
Ramp Green Goddess dressing
1 cup high quality mayo plus 1/4c lemon juice (or 1 c homemade lemon mayo)
1c sour cream
¼ c young ramp greens (or ¼ c scallions green and white)
¼ c parsley
2 t arugula chopped
1 T white wine or white balsamic vinegar
1/2t kosher or sea salt
½ t freshly gr black pepper
1t anchovy paste or ¼ t fish sauce
1 t chopped garlic
Coarsely chop very clean ramps and parsley. Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Use immediately or chill until ready to use. Will increase in intensity of flavor over days. If you plan to make this ahead, definitely refrain from using the garlic.
I used this as a dressing for a baby spinach salad topped with roasted mushrooms, and as a sauce over baked wild salmon. It would be wonderful served with grilled lamb chops.