Ramps in Bloom

Pureed soup (L), strained soup (R)

If you haven’t had a chance to discover this for yourself: ramps stink. Oniony aromas expand in the kitchen as you clean and cook them. I never put them in the trashcan because the smell will fill the house. And like garlic, it’s far better that if anyone eats ramps that everyone eats them.

During ramp season I make a lot of soups, especially as the asparagus comes into season. In December I wrote about a crema soup and this recipe uses the same technique. A little bit of fat is added to the pot, the diced root vegetables are stirred in, then a small amount of liquid is added. The pot is covered and the vegetables steam to tender before the rest of the stock is added. The result is a creamy texture without the addition of heavy cream.

Ramp and Potato Soup in two versions

One starts with a thick cut smoky bacon, the other features asparagus in season, but both have the same basic ingredients. For a very elegant presentation you can strain the soup through a fine sieve to remove any larger particles yielding a pure spring green soup with a velvety-textured.  You can see the difference in the photo of 2 soups.

Soup 1: Ramps with potatoes and smoky bacon
Ingredients

2 slices thick smoky bacon

1 t olive oil (if bacon is lean)

2 stalks celery, finely dived

½ large sweet onion or 1 whole leek (white and part of green)

8 – 10 ramps

32 oz Chicken stock – or homemade vegetable stock

3 c diced red or Yukon gold potatoes

S&P to taste

Soup 2: Ramps with diced potato and asparagus

 Ingredients

2 t oil or butter

2 stalks celery, finely dived

½ large sweet onion or 1 whole leek (white and part of green)

8 – 10 ramps

32 oz Chicken stock – or homemade vegetable stock

3 c diced red or Yukon gold potatoes

S& P to taste

2 c asparagus pieces*
For soup 1 only: In a stockpot, cook the bacon (with 1t olive oil or butter if the bacon is very lean). When bacon is crisp remove it with a slotted spoon, reserving the fat in the pot.

Dice potatoes into 1” cubes – small enough to cook fast. I leave the skins on because I’m going to puree the whole thing and the dark flacks don’t bother me. If you want the extra work, peel potatoes before dicing.

Add 2 c potato (reserving the last cup of potatoes in water to add at the end), celery, ramp whites, onion, and/or leeks to the stockpot and stir to coat with the fat. Sauté for 2 minutes then add ½ c broth or stock, cover with a tight fitting lid to allow to braise for about 10 minutes, until vegetable are tender. Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer.

If you are making the asparagus version, add the stems now, reserving the tips for the final step. If you prefer, you can add the last cup of potatoes to cook now as well.

When the potatoes are completely cooked through remove from the heat. Stir in coarsely chopped ramp greens.

To puree, I use the blender but an immersion wand will work quite well. In a blender, work in two batches, pureeing until the soup is very fine. This will yield a creamy soup flecked with bright green ramps and tiny bits of red potato skins.

To finish

For soup 1: Return the pureed soup to the pot, add the reserved 1 c diced potatoes and simmer 5 minutes until potatoes are tender. Serve hot with crumbled bacon on top.

For soup 2:Return the pureed soup to the pot. If you held back potatoes, add them now and simmer 5 minutes until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat. Toss in asparagus tips and allow to sit for 1 minute. Serve hot.

Ramp and potato soup with crumbled bacon

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About barbaraprice

Artist, Food writer, book editor, gardener
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