By: Jim Palmeri, Executive Chef, Mohonk Mountain House
Earthly delights are beginning to spring from the soil, and enthusiastic foodies are stalking one vegetable in particular: the ramp. Sometimes called wild leeks or spring onions, with a close resemblance to scallions, ramps have a stronger, garlicky flavor than their counterparts. Because they are hard to find and their season lasts only from late April to early May, ramps are akin to rock stars on tour. If you aren’t quick, you may miss a seat at the table and lose out on experiencing a sweetly pungent flavor that will make your taste buds sing.
If you like homemade garlic bread, add thinly sliced ramps into your dough. Or, lightly sauté the ramps and blend into softened butter for a delicious oniony spread. Ramps are easy to grill, too – simply coat with olive oil, sea salt and pepper first to create the perfect accompaniment to your barbecue dinner.
Here at Mohonk Mountain House, I enjoy coming up with new ways to shine the light on ramps each spring. The following recipe pairs ramps with morels, which are standout mushrooms with a smoky aroma. Like ramps, morels are found locally from late April through early May. These two winning vegetables take center stage when mixed with the creamy risotto. Get ready to cheer!
- 2 tablespoons local Ronnybrook Farm grass-fed butter
- 1/2 pound fresh local morels (washed; all dirt and rock removed, stems trimmed)
- 12 ramps, trimmed; bulbs and slender stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- 3 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for passing
- 1 cup whipped heavy cream
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced ramp bulbs and stems, and morels. Sauté until almost tender, about 2 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add vermouth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, simmering until almost absorbed before next addition and stirring often. Continue cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, adding more broth if dry and stirring often, about 18 minutes. Mix in green tops and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Fold in whipped cream. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing additional grated cheese separately. Enjoy!