Sunday, April 25, 2010

what's a ramp? and a recipe for ramp biscuits with olive oil...

so...what is a ramp? i am guessing some of you have never heard of this vegetable...and then there are those of you that grew up eating them all the time while they were in season. i was in the first category...then... about a year ago...ramps became all the rage. it seemed like every food restaurant., etc...was featuring ramps. i kept telling myself i had to give them a try...but kept putting it off. then one day last week i was shopping at my favorite organic produce market in napa (at oxbow) and spotted a bin of ramps...eureka! time to research, explore and cook!

so...again...what is a ramp? actually it is a wild leek and looks kinda like a small green onion, really small leek or tiny spring garlic bulb. the taste is somewhere between an onion and garlic, and the smell...oh that smell!! garlic, garlic, pungent garlic...very strong but a bit sweeter than white bulb garlic. all i can say is...this stuff is delicious! i have fallen in love...

i have used ramps in just about everything the past week...sauteed with greens, chopped and tossed into scrambled eggs, thrown in a stir-fry...and today....baked into my extra virgin olive oil biscuits. what a perfect sunday brunch....poached eggs, ham and ramp biscuits....amazing.

i first told you about the olive oil biscuits last year...and they have become a top item in blog searches. they are quick, easy (because they are drop biscuits) very versatile, and really, really good. i love the addition of ramps and knew i needed to tell you about my new fave...

ramps are only available in the spring so go buy some now....really, go buy some today....and give them a try...they work in any recipe you normally use onions or garlic...and please let me know how you use them. if you are a regular ramp user...please share your recipes...i want to keep experimenting while they are in season.

olive oil biscuits with ramps3/4 cup chopped ramps (about 1 bunch)
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

3 cups organic unbleached flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp alum free baking powder
2 tsp organic sugar (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup milk...any kind...i use 2%

preheat oven to 400 degrees. you will need a non-stick baking sheet...or use silpat or parchment paper on a regular sheet. chop the ramps the way you would green onions, by cutting off roots and the tough part of the green leaves. chop the tender green stalks and the white bulbs into very fine pieces. place in small skillet and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. sauté in olive oil for 3-4 minutes just until they begin to soften and remove from heat.

in a large bowl, sift together the flour with the rest of the dry ingredients. add the 1/2 cup olive oil and stir using a fork. large lumps will form and the flour will not be totally mixed into the dough. gradually add the milk a little bit at a time just until all the flour is incorporated into the dough...**note you may not need all the milk. add the ramp mixture and stir just to combine.

the biscuits are formed by placing forkfuls of dough onto prepared sheets. place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. i use approximately 2 forkfuls of dough for each biscuit (about 2 tbsp)...but you can make yours as small or large as you like. baking times will vary depending on size. serve immediately.
for brunch today i placed 2 poached eggs, ham and a couple of biscuits on each plate and sprinkled grey salt, freshly cracked black pepper and some of the chopped ramp greens over everything...pretty and delicious...

i am so happy to tell you there is a new csa (community supported agriculture) in napa. i have signed up and the first box comes next thursday. my campaign to promote local, heirloom, unusual, organic and/or sustainable food continues! i am excited to share with you the recipes created using this philosphy...and, of course, ask you to continue sharing your favorite food with me...


diane padoven
napa farmhouse 1885™"live a green life of style™ "
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Alison said...

How nice you were able to find some at the market! I have a fantasy of finding some on a hike....but I guess one has to go hiking to make that discovery. lol! Now that I've read your post though, I might have to step up my efforts....quite literally. ;-)

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi alison...i have about as much chance as you finding the ramps on a hike!!! lol...think i will stick with the organic produce mrkt!!

let me know if you try any ramp recipes..


Anonymous said...

I've never made an olive oil biscuit. These look yummy though!

casalba said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

thanks arugulove! let me know if you make the biscuits. how do you prepare ramps?

Napa Farmhouse 1885 said...

hi sally...thanks so much for your feedback. as we discussed, i removed it from the post and responded via email. please comment again with feedback regarding the "tweaks" in style! :) best, diane
(i really do appreciate you taking the time to provide your thoughts)