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Prairie Grass Cafe’s Ramp Crustini Recipe

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The ramp, also known as the wild leek, is an early Spring vegetable. It’s flavor is often described as a combination of onions and garlic. Although pretty pungent, ramps can also add a very wonderful flavor to dishes. Chefs Bumbaris and Stegner of Northbrook, IL’s Prairie Grass Cafe, share their recipe for Ramp Crustini with Ramp Butter. It’s a simple dish you can prepare right now during ramp season.

Back CameraPhoto by Grant Kessler

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of wild ramps
  • 1 Tbsp + 1/4 cup olive oil (separated)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup sweet butter (softened)
  • 8 slices of baguette – sliced on the bias, 4-5 inches long each

Directions:

  1. Cook the ramps. Take about 10 to 20 ramps depending on the size. Clean them very well. Divide the ramps into 3 parts: the bulb, the stem and the greens into three separate parts.
  2. At the very beginning of the season you may need to only divide them into 2 parts the top greens from the bottom stem.
  3. Blanch the stems and bulb in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Heat a medium size saute pan over high heat, add a 1 tablespoon olive oil. Put chopped up tops of the ramps into the pan along with the blanched stems and bulbs. Cook until tender and season well with salt. If they pick up a little charred color that can taste good too.
  4. Make the ramp butter. Place ½ cup of the cooked ramps in a blender with ¼ cup olive oil, 1/8 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Puree well. Fold the pureed ramps into the softened butter.
  5. Assemble. Spread some of the ramp butter onto a slice of baguette. Toast in the oven until hot and bubbly. The butter will be vibrant green. Add the remaining cooked ramps over the top and it’s ready to be served.

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