Wild about Wild Ramps

With my nickname from my next door neighbor being the onion queen because of my onion garden, and being Italian and loving garlic, I have long been intrigued by wild ramps. Ramps are an early spring perennial onion with a strong garlic-like odor and onion flavor. But until last year, they eluded me. Living in the mountainside of Maryland, I hear of numerous ramp festivals but only last year made it to one at the tail end of the food tasting where only a small sampling of potato and ramp soup remained. It was delicious and whet my appetite for more.

This week, I was thrilled to find some wild ramps and fresh asparagus at a local produce market. This is the first time I have seen ramps at any local market.

Ramps, allium tricoccum, are found growing wild across most of eastern North America. They are considered rare delicacies in Canada and a protected species in Quebec. They are considered a species of “special concern” for conservation in Maine, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

I quickly began researching recipes using ramps and opted for my own creation, adapted from numerous recipes I found online and from my own experience. Everyone in my house said it was one of their favorite soups. Hope you enjoy it.

Wild Ramps and Potato Soup
Serves 8

2 bunches of wild ramps, washed and chopped (include greens, as desired)
½ – 1 Tbsp. each butter and olive oil
2-3 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and diced (depending how thick you want soup – I used 2 lb)
2 – 32 ounce boxes of vegetarian broth, low sodium
1 bay leaf
1-2 garlic cloves
¼ tsp. garlic & herb seasoning (sodium free)
¼ tsp. (or more to taste) each thyme, oregano and parsley (if fresh, triple as desired)
½ cup half and half, fat-free (or milk if half & half not available)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Coat bottom of soup pot with butter and olive oil.
2. Sauté ramps, garlic, potatoes and garlic and herb seasoning for several minutes until ramps are      softened.
3. Add broth and bay leaf and simmer until potatoes are soft.
4. Use immersion blender and puree to desired consistency, leaving some potato cubes.
5. Add thyme, oregano and parsley.
6. Add a ladle or 2 of soup broth to half and half and mix well and then add back to the soup pot.
7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Have you eaten wild ramps?  If so, I’d love to hear about your favorite way to prepare them.

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