I can hear it now, the silent screams, “Arrgghhh, not another post about ramps!” Yes, this is about ramps, but it is about what to do with that scraggly bunch that you so optimistically purchased when you first saw them in the farmers’ markets a few weeks back. Now, they’ve found a home on the bottom of the crisper drawer, and you need to use them up before they decay completely. One solution is to make Ramp Butter.
Ramp butter is perfect for tossing into roasted vegetables, hot off of the grill to give them a punch. Stuff a slab underneath the skin of a chicken prepped for going into the oven, letting the flavors perfume the meat as it bakes. Or, as I did one time, place a piece of frozen butter inside a hamburger. As the meat cooks, the butter melts and bastes the burger from the inside out, lovingly seasoning it and adding a layer of flavor.
Fortunately, this year, I didn’t let my ramps get that far gone (yes, that photo is really from my fridge), so I still had bright green, herb-like leaves and alabaster white bulbs to work with. I chopped them up and added them to about a stick of softened butter. Then, I combined that with some salt and pepper, dropped it into plastic wrap, formed it, and sealed it. Before putting it into the freezer for storage, I made sure to label the mixture, so that I wouldn’t mistakenly think that it was another variety of compound (flavored or seasoned) butter that I might have made. I hope you whip up a batch of this with your leftover ramps and find something delicious to cook with it.
Serving size: 1/2 cup (one stick)
Prep time: 15 minutes
1 stick (1/2 cup or 8 oz.) Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 pinch White Pepper
2 Tbsp. Ramp greens (tops), finely chopped (if the greens are too wilted, add 1 Tbsp. finely minced, fresh Parsley instead)
2 Tbsp. Ramp whites (bottoms), finely chopped
Place butter in bowl. Add salt and pepper. Add green and white parts of ramps. Mix together thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula or fork. This is best to do without a food processor or hand blender, as the butter will get too soft and will start to melt if you use them.
Spread out a piece of plastic wrap that is about 10-12 inches in length on a board or the kitchen counter. Put the butter mixture in the center of the plastic wrap. This will keep your hands from getting greasy and will make it easier to shape the butter mixture. Take the piece of the plastic wrap closest to you and fold it over the butter mixture. With the plastic wrap, begin to shape the mixture into a long, rectangular block.
Working quickly, so as not to allow the butter mixture to melt, continue to shape it until the block of butter is more or less uniform. My attempt wasn’t quite perfect, but I knew that I needed to stop fiddling with it as the butter was getting too soft to handle.
When the butter mixture is shaped into a rectangular-ish block, finish it by wrapping the entire form in plastic wrap and in twisting the ends. Place in the freezer to harden and keep it there until ready to use. You can cut off slices of the butter mixture as you need to use it, keeping the rest frozen. Don’t forget to label it!