One of the best ways to eat ramps is with cheese and I believe this may be one of the best ramp and cheese recipes I've eaten. It's usually the first thing we eat after we dig ramps and it's something I look forward to all year.
Ramps and white cheddar soup is fairly easy to make, doesn't require a lot of ramps and makes use of both bulbs and greens.
Before you seek out your ramps, please think about conservation. When we made the hike up to our normal ramp harvest area this season, I was glad to see it hadn't been hammered by foraging profiteers-wild edible pirates.
That has not always been the case, though. We've had to abandon some spots, climbing higher to avoid over-harvest, and some patches have been completely stripped bare before we arrived.
Collecting a few for personal use is one thing, but ramps have gotten so popular, droves of foragers are digging as much as they can carry to sell to restaurants or through farmers markets and roadside stands. When you dig your own, please remember to take only what you can reasonably use (a little goes a long way), only dig one or two from one clump spacing your harvest out as much as possible and leave the the roots in the ground undisturbed when you can.
Ramp patches are sensitive areas, often occurring in highly erodible areas like stream banks. Spacing out the harvest helps to prevent erosion. Please be careful to not only be gentle on the ramp population but also on the other fragile species that frequently grow alongside of ramps.
Please read this for more info on sustainably harvesting ramps or cultivating your own.
If you buy ramps, please make an effort to find out how and where the ramps were harvested. Of course some sellers are more responsible than others.
Enjoy your ramps and cheese!
3 Tbls unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups sweet onion, finely chopped
3 ramp bulbs, finely chopped (about 2 Tbls), greens reserved
6 Tbls flour
1/4 cup + 1 Tbls vermouth
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3 cups heavy cream
2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 8 ounces)
2 Tbls ramp greens, minced
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
In a heavy bottom soup pot, combine butter, onion, crushed red pepper, salt and ramp bulbs.
Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until soft.
Stir in flour and cook 2 more minutes.
Add 1/4 cup vermouth and cook 1 more minute.
Stir in chicken broth and bay leaf and simmer for 15 minutes.
Whisk in cream, cheese and ramp greens. Continue whisking and warming without boiling for about 5 minutes.
Adjust seasoning to taste with cayenne pepper, salt and vermouth. Warm a few more minutes and serve.