I hope you had a chance to harvest ramps, one of the first and best wild foods to appear each spring, often called “wild leeks” or “wild onions.”
We’re so fortunate to have these treasures growing wild in the Northwoods for only six to eight weeks each season. Both the bulb and the leaves are edible, eaten raw or cooked. They are high in vitamins A and C and taste like a cross between a scallion and onion with a pungent garlicky bite.
Ramps will stay fresh in your refrigerator for a week or two, sealed in a few plastic bags because the aroma is strong, or freeze bulbs and leaves (separated, leaves chopped) for several months. They can be sautéed, pureed, made into pesto and are very tasty pickled.
Try ramps added to omelets, soups, pastas, rice, stir-fries, quiche, casseroles or any recipes calling for leeks or onions. Here’s a delicious soup adapted from Emeril Lagasse — sure to impress!
Ramp and Potato Bisque
4 tbsp. butter
1 pound (approximately 15-20?) ramps, cleaned and cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and cayenne pepper or ground pepper to taste
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. dried rosemary, or 1 tsp. fresh
10 cups chicken stock
2½ pounds (approximately 8 small to medium) new or baby red potatoes
½ cup cream or half and half
Optional garnishes: croutons, small crackers, minced fresh chives or parsley
1. In large heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the ramps and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes. Add bay leaf, garlic and rosemary and cook 2 minutes.
2. Cut unpeeled potatoes in half and add potatoes to the pot with the chicken stock; simmer covered until potatoes are very soft, about 45 to 60 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, discard bay leaf and puree with hand blender, or in a blender in batches. Add cream and adjust seasonings; reheat gently and garnish as desired.
Ann Noble is a local food consultant and owner of Annie’s Noble Cuisine, LLC. She can be reached with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.