Ramps

Guacamole with Wild Leeks

Serving size: 1
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 0

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado – mashed
1 medium tomato – chopped
1 wild leek (ramp) – chopped
Fresh lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Thoroughly wash wild leeks (ramps) and chop. Add ramps, avocado, tomato and squeeze of fresh lemon into a bowl and fold everything together to incorporate.

Concept behind the dish:
My favorite guacamole recipe growing up came from a kids cookbook. The dish was simple: ripe avocado, chopped tomatoes, chopped green onion, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt.

I wanted to replicate this simple guacamole using ramps which have a natural onion and garlic flavor. The flavor profile of the ramps allowed me to replace the green onion and garlic powder in the recipe from my childhood.Guacamole with Wild Leeks also called Ramps


Ramp Pesto with Grilled Chicken

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:
1-2 lb chicken (I used boneless, butterflied chicken breast)
1 bunch ramps
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Pesto:

Thoroughly clean ramps and remove just the roots.  Add ramps, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and lemon juice to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blend a little more to incorporate.  Set aside or place in refrigerator for later use.

Chicken:

Add a little salt and pepper to both side of the chicken pieces.  Heat grill to medium-high.  Cook chicken for approximately 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness) or until internal juices run clear.  About 1 minute before chicken has finished cooking, add a layer of ramp pesto to the top half of the chicken.  Finish cooking and then remove from heat and plate.

Concept behind the dish

Like basil or parley, I feel that ramps lend themselves to a pesto.  The flavors are bold but mellowed out a bit with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon and parmesan cheese.

I kept the chicken preparation simple (just salt and pepper) for two reasons:  it is quite strong and might over power other flavors on the chicken and it is a strong enough component to fully flavor the chicken on its own.Grilled Chicken with Ramp Pesto


Turkey Burger with Wild Leeks

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:
1 lb ground turkey
2-3 wild leeks (also called ramps)
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Wild Leeks:

Thoroughly wash and chop off just the roots.  Chop the remaining wild leek (white stalk and green leafy part).  Set aside.

Burger:

In a bowl, add ground turkey, 4 tbsp chopped ramps, salt and pepper to taste.  Fold all ingredients to evenly incorporate.  Form into 1/4 lb hamburger patties.

Grill:

On a grill over medium high heat, add turkey burger patties. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until internal juices run clear.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Concept behind the dish

I grew up eating turkey burgers and will order them over beef burgers most of the time (sorry burger aficionados.)

I like to add different ingredients into the meat before cooking (like dried jalapeño flakes or green onions or Worcestershire sauce.)  In this dish, I decided to use diced ramps.  The onion and garlic flavor carries through each bite and will be sure to have some burger converts.Turkey Burger with Wilk Leeks


Rainbow Trout with Sautéed Ramps over Wild Rice

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4-6 minutes

Ingredients:
1 lb fresh Rainbow Trout fillets – about 4 pieces
15-20 Ramps (available in the Spring – also called wild leeks)
1 cup dried wild rice (when cooked can be used for 4 servings)
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Prepare wild rice according to directions on package.  It takes about 30 minutes so plan ahead.

Ramps:

Thoroughly wash ramps and cut roots off the bottom.  Chop entire ramp (bulb, white part and leaves.)  In a saute pan over medium heat drizzle a little olive oil.  Add ramps and a little salt/pepper to taste.  Cook for 3-4 minutes to soften.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Salt and pepper trout fillets.  In same pan you cooked the ramps in, heat a little more olive oil and add trout, skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until trout is white and flaky.  Remove from heat and plate.

To plate:

Add about 1/4 cup cooked wild rice to plate and top with one piece of sautéed trout.  Spoon ramps on top of fish and garnish with a lemon wedge.  Serve immediately.

Concept behind the dish

Ramps are only in season for a short amount of time during the spring.  They are typically found on the east cost (through the Appalachia Mountain region.)

I put this recipe together as if someone was on a camping trip and had to make a meal using only locally gathered ingredients.

If you were camping by a lake or streams, you could catch a trout, gather some wild rice and pick ramps.  Everything could be cooked over the open campfire.Rainbow Trout with Sauteed Ramps over Wild Rice


Cherrystone Clams and Ramps Casino

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5-8 minutes

Ingredients:
8 Cherrystone clams
8 ramps (wild leeks)
2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Pepper

Directions:

Wash clams and open, reserving the clam in one half of the shell.  Do not use clams that are already open (only use tightly closed clams.)  Set aside.

Thoroughly wash ramps, cut off roots and then chop the rest (you use both the green and white parts.)

Pre-heat over to 450 F degrees.

In a sauté pan, over medium heat add a little olive oil and heat for about 1 minute.  Do not smoke oil.  Add ramps and cook for approximately 1-2 minutes stirring occasionally until the ramps have softened.  Turn off heat and add 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs and fold everything together.

Place clams in half shell on a baking sheet and spoon ramp and breadcrumb mixture over the top of each.  Add a little pepper to taste and then top with a small pinch of Parmesan cheese.

Place in oven and cook for 5-8 minutes or until cheese melts and starts browning on the top.  Remove and serve.

Concept behind the dish

This is my take on clams casino.  It is meant to be a lighter, spring version of the traditional dish.  The ramps are a nice compliment to the briny, sweet clams and I decided to use Panko breadcrumbs for additional texture.Cherrystone Clams and Ramps Casino


Grilled Spring Ramps

Serving size: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
1 bunch ramps – these are seasonal and available in the Spring
1 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Thoroughly wash ramps and cut off roots at the bottom off the plant.

Blanch:

In a pan of boiling water, add washing ramps and cook for 1-2 minutes.  This will tone down some of the potent onion and garlic flavor in the ramps.  You can skip this step and go right to grilling for a stronger flavor.

Grilling:

Heat a grill pan.  Take blanched or un-blanched ramps, place in a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to evenly coat.  Add to heated grill pan and cook for 2-3 minutes flipping after about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and serve with lemon wedges.

Concept behind the dish

Why mess with success?  We all agree grilled vegetables are delicious.  Ramps, with their pungent taste are perfect for grilling because it mellows the flavors a bit.  Also the charring from the grill and a little acid from the lemon creates on stellar side dish.Grilled Spring Ramps


Pepper Crusted Pork Medallions with Grilled Ramps

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-8 minutes

Ingredients
1-1.5 lb – pork tenderloin
Freshly cracked pepper
Salt
1-2 bunches of ramps (wild leeks)

Directions:

Pork:

Freshly crack pepper on a plate (about 2 tbsp or enough to coat the pork.)  Gently roll pork over plate to get an even crust of pepper.

With a sharp knife, cut pork into 1 inch thick medallions.  Add a little salt to taste on each side of pork medallions.

On a grill over medium heat (or grill pan if indoors) add pork medallions cut side down.  Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes per side or until juices run clear.  Remove and set aside.

Ramps:

Thoroughly wash ramps and cut off just the roots.  You can eat the green leaves and white part at the bottom.

When pork has about 2 minutes left to cook, add ramps and cook for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute then flip and cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minutes.  You want the ramps to start to wilt and get grill marks.  Do not char.  Remove and set aside.

To plate:

Add 3-5 grilled ramps flat on a plate and top with two pieces of pepper crusted pork.

Concept behind the dish

I wanted to find a limited set of ingredients that paired well together.  The pork has a natural sweetness which is cut with the bold pepper crust.  The ramps round the dish out and are a nice way to introduce someone to a new ingredient (ramps)

The key to this dish is simplicity.Pepper Crusted Pork Medallions with Grilled Ramps


Baked Flounder Fillets with Spring Ramps

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients:
1 lb. flounder fillets – About 12 pieces. This is a small portion so you can buy more if desired
8 ramps
Extra virgin olive oil
Plain bread crumbs
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees.  Place ceramic or metal baking dish in oven to heat up.

Thoroughly wash and then dry ramps.  Cut off white bottom part and set aside for other uses (such as addition to a salad.)  You will just be using the top green leaves for this dish.

Lightly brush flounder with extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 leaves lengthwise on the fillets and gently roll up the pieces (loosely rolled.)  Top with a little salt and pepper to taste and some breadcrumbs for texture (about 1 tsp per fillet.)

Remove heated baking dish and carefully add rolled fish.  Place back in oven and cook for 5-7 minutes or until fish is flaky.

You can serve with lemon wedges or pair with a light homemade tomato sauce.  I used leftover tomato sauce from this Fire Roasted Tomato and Thai Chili Recipe (include this recipe as well.)Baked Flounder Fillets with Spring Ramps


Baked Wild Striped Bass with Ramps

Serving size: 2
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2 fresh Striped Bass fillets about 1/3 lb each (about 1 inch thick in the middle)
Ramps or spring onions (the green top parts)
Salt
Pepper
Dried Parsley
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Garlic powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add salt and pepper to each fillet.  Lightly dust with a little garlic powder, dried parsley and red pepper flakes.  Wrap each fillet with green part of the ramp or spring onion.

Place on a baking dish and put in oven for 12-15 minutes or until fish is white and flaky.Baked Wild Striped Bass with Ramps


Traditional Risotto with Ramp Pesto

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
1.5 cups – Arborio rice
5 cups – Chicken stock
1 medium white onion – diced
1/4 cup – Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Ramp Pesto:
1 bunch ramps
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Ramp Pesto:

Thoroughly clean ramps and remove just the roots.  Add ramps, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and lemon juice to a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste and blend a little more to incorporate.  Set aside or place in refrigerator for later use.

Risotto:

In a large pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat add a little olive oil.  Add chopped onion and cook for about 3 minutes until translucent.  Do not brown.

Add Arborio rice and stir.  Cook for a couple minutes until the rice develops a little sheen.  Add one cup of chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes to allow the liquid to absorb.  Do not boil liquid and stir frequently.  Add a little salt and pepper to taste.  You can always add more salt and pepper later so don’t use too much.  Continue to add the stock one cup at a time.  Total cooking time is approximately 25 minutes.

Once almost all the liquid has been absorbed, turn off heat to avoid burning.  Add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and fold to incorporate.

To Serve:

Add a large scoop of risotto to a bowl and top with a tbsp of Ramp pesto.Traditional Risotto with Ramp Pesto


Turkey Egg Omelette and Ramps

Serving size: 1
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:
1-2 Turkey eggs
2 ramps – chopped white and green parts
Butter
Salt and pepper

Directions:

In a bowl, crack 1-2 turkey eggs and scramble with a fork.  Thoroughly wash ramps, cut off cut the roots, chop the rest and set aside.

In a small sauté pan over medium low heat melt a little butter.  Do not brown.

Add turkey eggs and allow to set-up for around 1 minute.  Carefully put the spatula under the edges to get the egg off the bottom of the pan.  Add chopped ramps over the top, salt and pepper to taste and then carefully flip the entire egg over.  Cook for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Do not overcook.

Fold the egg half way over and then plate.Turkey Egg Omelette and Ramps


Grilled Chicken with Ramp Seeds and Balsamic Fig Glaze

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1-1.5 lb chicken breast ((I use skinless)
1 oz. Ramp seeds
1 small jar medium size capers
Balsamic Fig Glaze
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Ramp Seed Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

In small plastic squeeze bottle or plastic jar add 1 tbsp ramp seeds.  Cover with extra virgin olive oil (you can fill the jar and use the infused oil later) and allow to sit for  a few hours or overnight.

Chicken:

Salt both sides of chicken to taste.  Then add a liberal amount of freshly cracked pepper to to each side.  You want the chicken to have some heat.  Grill over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes per side or until juices run clear.

Remove and set aside.

To plate:

Add chicken breast to plate.  Drizzle with a little ramp infused extra virgin olive oil.  Drizzle with a little fig balsamic glaze (this is strong stuff so just use a little.)  Top with some ramp seeds (5-7), large capers (about 5-7) and a few fresh basil leaves.

Serve and enjoy.Grilled Chicken with Ramp Seeds and Balsamic Fig Glaze


Pickled Ramps, Green Olive and Prosciutto Party Appetizers

Serving size: 6-8
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 0

Ingredients:
1 jar pickled garlic scapes or pickled ramps
1/4 lb lemon garlic marinated green olives (pitted)
1/4 lb Manchego cheese (aged three months)
3 oz thinly sliced Prosciutto
3 oz can anchovies (in olive oil)
Extra virgin olive oil
Toothpicks

Directions:

Add one piece of picked garlic scape, one green olive, one piece of prosciutto and cube of manchego.

*Use prosciutto for half the appetizers and anchovies for the other half.  Do not add both to one toothpick.

Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and serve.Prosciutto and Picked Ramp Appetizer


Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Ramps


Spring Ramp and Cannellini Bean Salad

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

Description:
A delicious spring salad with a mix of textures and flavors that play nicely off each other. Serve as a solo salad or as a side to any grilled meats.

Ingredients:
1.5 cups of prepared Cannellini Beans. (or 1 15oz can Cannellini beans – rinsed)
3 fresh ramps, grilled or cooked in a cast iron skillet and chopped (if ramps are not in season you can use scallions.)
1 cup grape tomatoes cut in half and grilled on one side until caramelized
1-2 tbsp cilantro – chopped
1-2 tbsp pickled ramps – chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a glass bowl and fold to incorporate. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Ratio should be 3 parts oil to 1 part oil. Fold ingredients one more time, cover and allow to sit in refrigerator for at least an hour to marinate.Spring Ramp and Cannellini Bean Salad


Ramp and Red Chili Fritters

Serving size: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
2 eggs – beaten
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp grated parmesan
3-4 ramps finely chopped – about 1 cup
Fresh red chili pepper – seeds removed and finely diced. About 1 tbsp.
Vegetable oil
Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a bowl, combine eggs, parmesan, ramps, chili pepper, salt. Slowly add flour and whisk to incorporate.

In a pan over medium heat, add a little vegetable oil. When oil is hot add 1 tbsp dollops of batter to pan. Cook for approximately 1-2 minute per side, or until golden brown.  Remove and serve with a little sour cream or just by themselves.Ramp and Red Chili Fritters


Ramps Little Neck Clams and Beer

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:
12 dz little neck clams
5-7 ramps – chopped
1 beer – Lager (I used Session Lager)
Fresh cracked pepper
Unsalted butter
Olive oil
Serving size: 4

Directions:

In a pot add approximately 1 tbsp of unsalted butter and a drizzle of olive oil. Turn heat to medium low and allow butter to melt but do not burn.

Add chopped ramps and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add 1 beer and increase heat.

Thoroughly wash clams.  Disgard any that are not tightly closed.  Once beer is simmering, add clams and then place lid on the pot.

Cook until clams all pop open, around 5 minutes.  Do not overcook (once the clams open  they are done.)

To plate:

Place all clams in a bowl and then ladle ramps and beer broth over the top. Finish with freshly cracked pepper.

Ramps Little Neck Clams and Beer

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