Ramps Are The Wild Ingredient Your Homemade Butter And Dips Crave

Ramps (Allium tricoccum), also known as wild leek, are among the first vegetables to bloom in early spring after the long winter slumber. These springtime heralds are native to North America and resemble scallions. However, they are noticeably different due to their wider leaves and purplish stems. The wild, flavorful gems pack a punchy blend of an onion-like taste and garlicky aroma, making them ideal for different recipes. While you can cook or grill ramps, if you're looking for a simple way to prepare them, add them when making homemade butter.

Butter and dips pair well with robust flavor ingredients like chives, garlic, basil, and jalapeño. Similarly, ramps carry a sweet, tangy zest in their flavor, which helps them fit like a glove to numerous classic dips and spreads, like ranch or homemade mayo. Ramp butter requires only three ingredients: butter, salt, and ramps. The best part? The versatile charm of ramp butter extends beyond a simple toast spread. You can add a delightful, oniony twist to your everyday dishes, from pasta, vegetables, and salads to burgers or quesadillas. You can even savor its unique flavor by rubbing it under succulent chicken or turkey skin before roasting them.

However, it's important to note that ramps are available for a limited time. Fortunately, ramp butter can be frozen in an air-tight container, preserved to use throughout its blooming season, and will keep for up to six months post-freeze.

How to make perfect ramp-infused condiments

Whether you're using ramp leaves or stems, there are various ways to make a decent ramp butter or ramp-flavored dip. While you could use fresh ramp leaves, this may produce an overwhelmingly spicy flavor. To achieve a harmonious flavor, consider blanching a portion of the leaves. Blanching vegetables can balance the taste and preserve the vegetable's captivating green hue. We recommend using a high-speed blender or food processor to create a smooth puree. Blanched ramp leaves can exhibit a milder taste than their fresh counterparts. Therefore, combining fresh and blanched ramp leaves ensures a luscious, creamy condiment that delivers a pleasantly assertive flavor while retaining its vibrant green shade.

Incorporating raw chopped ramp bulbs is another option; it's the perfect way to enhance the flavor of your ramp leaves and infuse your butter or dips with their delightful aroma. However, if you choose to add them, exercise caution, as the bulbs possess a more intense taste than the leaves, and adding too much could overwhelm your dish with excessive spiciness. 

For best results, slice the bulbs and gently sauté them in some oil over low heat to mellow out their raw intensity before blending them with your other ingredients. Feel free to add more bulbs as you blend to intensify the flavor. Don't be too concerned about following a rigid recipe. Instead, opt for an intuitive approach. Happy ramping!