Ramps...what are these things? Here’s what I’ve learned:
*they are wild leeks
*found near running water
*taste like a mix of green onion and garlic
*leaves look like tulip leaves; root part looks like green onions with a bit of red
*you can tell their freshness by cutting the root in half - if the red is seeping down into the white part too much, then they are past their prime.
*the ramps season is quite short, only showing up during the month of May here in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
We tried ramps in Potato and Ramps Soup that Valley Natural Foods provided. Here's the recipe:
2 slices bacon
2 c. chopped ramps (including greens)
2 c. diced red potatoes
1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 c. chicken or veggie broth
1/2 c. heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, fry bacon until crispy; set bacon aside. Add ramps and potatoes to the skillet; fry on medium-low heat until ramps are tender. Sprinkle with flour; stir until flour is absorbed. Stir in broth; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes depending on size of potatoes. Stir in the cream and heat thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with crumbed bacon.
-The finished product-
The recipe above gave us 4 bowls of soup (2 for dinner, 2 for lunches today). If you don't eat bacon, use a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan to fry the potatoes and ramps instead. Top with Bacos, or other bacon substitute if desired. Also, we used half chicken broth and half veggie broth and could have easily replaced the heavy cream with soy milk.
Overall, the soup was good. The first few bites were unfamiliar for us and we thought it tasted a bit "wild", but after those bites, it was really good! Make sure to check to see if your potatoes are done too - we had a few solid pieces in the soup that could have been cooked longer. Since this is a basic recipe, next time we make it, we'd like to add some other vegetables to it and experiment, but for a first try in the ramps world, it was perfect!
Now, onto the Freezer Magic part. A couple weeks ago, we made crab cakes with fresh crabmeat. We had never had crab cakes before, but were excited to try them and ended up disappointed - the cakes didn't hold together and tasted kinda salty. So, we froze the remaining 4 patties in hopes they would hold together next time. Well, we ate them alongside this soup and although they didn't hold together (at all!), the flavors were intensified - we could pick out the different flavors of citrus, crab, and onion. They were fantastic as a side dish!
Tonight we are heading out on a secret shop for a local restaurant so there will be no cooking, but we'll report back on the restaurant. Take care!