Last spring I kept on running into recipes involving ramps. I had never heard of ramps. By and by I learned that ramps are wild leeks possessing a flavor all their own, but I couldn't find them anywhere until last Saturday. It was the first day of our outdoor Farmers Market and at one of the stalls, among the baby greens, were ramps. I was delighted to find them and curious to try them in ramp soup.
I told my mom about my find and she told me that one of her dear friends grew up in West Virginia eating ramps and that on more than one occasion this friend's little sister was asked to leave the classroom for smelling too strongly of them. They are indeed pungent little bulbs, which make a lovely, oniony, spring soup. This soup is perfect for a first course, though I made a meal of it with chicken liver pâté on toast.
Gourmet, April 2008
- 1 lb. ramps
- 1/2 sweet onion, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 2 Tbs. oil
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 3 1/2 cups broth
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 2 Tbs. butter
- Wash and trim roots from ramps. Cut off their tops and coarsely chop enough greens to measure 3 cups. Thinly slice ramp bulbs, including pink stems.
- Cook ramp bulbs, onion, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt in oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add wine, then boil over high heat, stirring occasionally until the wine has evaporated. Add broth and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until onions and ramps are very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in ramp greens and boil 1 minute.
- Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until very smooth, about a minute per batch. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing hard on and then discarding the solids. Return soup to a clean pot and bring just to the boil. Whisk in cheese and butter until smooth. Season with salt.