Pickled or blanched, roasted or raw—West Virginians’ love for ramps runs rampant.
Come springtime, foragers take to the woods, shoppers head to farmers markets, and chefs sharpen their knives. It’s quite the craze, all for a humble little onion. But not without good reason.
More oniony than a leek, more garlicky than a scallion, ramps are surprisingly versatile. They pack a punch when blended into butter or add a savory kick when mixed into muffins. Don’t take our word for it though. Try your hand at some of our favorite ways to dine on this Appalachian delicacy.
- 2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
- ½ cup ramp bulbs roughly chopped
- ½ cup ramp greens roughly chopped
- 3 large russet potatoes peeled and diced
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- Crumbled bacon for garnish
- Shredded cheese for garnish
- In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, saute ramps over medium heat in bacon fat or butter until soft.
- Add potatoes, broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Add heavy cream and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat until the flavors meld.
- Let the chowder stand for 30 minutes to an hour so it thickens. For an even creamier soup, blend 1 or 2 cups of cooled soup in a blender until smooth and add it back to the pot.
- Before serving, gently reheat chowder. Garnish bowls with bacon, shredded cheese, and ramp greens.
- 4 ounces ramps cleaned and rinsed
- 2 sticks unsalted butter cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Bring a pot of water to boil. Fill a bowl halfway with ice water. Toss ramps into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds to blanch. Using a slotted spoon, quickly remove ramps from boiling water and dunk into ice water to halt their cooking. Drain ramps and pat dry.
- Pulse ramps, butter, lemon zest, and salt in food processor until well combined, about 30 seconds.
- Divide butter mixture in half and wrap each half in a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll and shape each into a log. Twist ends of plastic to close.
- Place logs in resealable plastic bags and freeze. Slice off rounds of butter as needed.
Sauteed Ramps with White Beans on Toast
- 4 ounces ramps diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more to taste
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup cooked white beans
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 4 slices toast
- Heat olive oil in large pan over low heat. Add ramps and sweat them for 5 minutes.
- Over medium-high heat, add lemon juice. Stir and scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add white beans and cook for 2 minutes, or until heated through. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve warmed beans on toast of your choice. Drizzle with olive oil to taste. Leftover beans can also be served over risotto or grits.
Grilled Asparagus with Ramp Dressing
- 1 bunch ramps coarsely chopped
- ½ lemon juice and zest
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- grilled asparagus
- 1 bunch green asparagus
- Olive oil for brushing
- 2 burrata or mozzarella cheese balls patted dry
- Puree ramps and olive oil in blender until fully combined—the oil should look green. Season with lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper.
- Trim asparagus and brush with olive oil. Roast asparagus over grill or griddle pan until tender, about 2 minutes per side.
- Remove asparagus from heat and cut into bite-sized slices. Arrange asparagus on a plate. Top with burrata or mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with the ramp dressing.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 ounces ramps
- 4 ounces baby spinach chopped
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk until mixed well.
- Add cream, ramps, baby spinach, and parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Cook briefly until ramps are soft. Serve as is or spoon over toast.
food styled and photographed by Carla Witt Ford