I feel like I’m going to get my professional eater card revoked for saying this, but… (whispers) I don’t really love ramps.
I know! I can’t take it back! Call the cops, it’s already out there!
And when the fragrant little buggers are going for $10 a pound, it’s easy to just say I’ll take my food dollars elsewhere.
But free ramps? Hell yeah, I’ll play around with those.
My dad, who never met a garlic clove or onion he didn’t like, routinely shows up at my door each spring with a gallon-size bag filled, and I mean filled, to the brim with ramp bulbs.
Urban foodies who salivate over those pricey specimens at the Union Square Greenmarket would swoon over the abundance of ramps in the hills of western Pennsylvania.
(Yet another reason to move to Pittsburgh, all ye frugal food lovers!)
Refusing a bag of freshly foraged ramps is really looking a gift horse in the mouth, don’t you think?
So I’ve taken the semi-regular ramp donation as a challenge to find new ways to use them each year.
This year, I decided to go the dip route, and dare I say, roasting the ramps may be my favorite way to prepare them thus far.
Just like roasting garlic—a ramp’s brother from another mother—mellows its pungency, the same happens for ramps.
That sweet caramelization does a number on the bulbs, taming their more aggressive flavor and getting rid of the stringiness that turns me off when they’re grilled.
The recipe that follows is adapted from the classic French onion dip found in Classic Snacks Made from Scratch.
In addition to the inclusion of ramps, this recipe lightens things up with the omission of mayonnaise and sour cream.
It’s a more mellow variation on the pungent party starter we all know and love, and in keeping with this slightly tweaked version of the American classic, I’ve given the dip a more worldly chip pairing as well.
The tangy mustard butter that adorns the homemade pita chips is inspired by a popcorn recipe in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day.
Feel free to play around with the seasonings on your chips.
You can add sweeter or spicier mustard, a few shakes of Worcestershire if you want to make it saltier, or just leave the chips plain.
If ramps aren’t in season or aren’t available in your area, you can substitute other members of the allium family like cipollini onions, small shallots, or the bulbs of spring onions.
- 1/2 pound ramp bulbs, cleaned and trimmed
- 3 large garlic cloves, left unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sesame Mustard Pita Chips
- 1 package of 6 whole wheat pitas
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces; 57 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon coarse-grain Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces; 227 grams) plain Greek yogurt, any fat percentage
- minced fresh chives for sprinkling
Caramelize the ramps:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
- Toss the ramps and garlic with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- Spread the ramps evenly in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 30-45 minutes, until the ramps are tender and deeply golden brown.
- Let the ramps and garlic cool to room temperature.
Make the chips:
- While the ramps and garlic cool, cut the pita bread into quarters and gently pull each pita triangle apart to separate it into 2 thin halves.
- Line the halves, "inside" side up, on 2 large rimmed baking sheets.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then add the mustard and pepper and whisk until blended.
- Brush the pita halves with the mustard butter and sprinkle evenly with the sesame seeds.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pitas are browned and crispy. Start checking on them after 8 minutes; some chips will brown faster than others.
- Cool the chips on a wire rack.
Finish the dip:
- Peel the garlic and chop with the ramps into a coarse paste.
- Stir the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, both mustards, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl until the cream cheese is blended and no longer lumpy.
- Stir in the yogurt and chopped ramps and garlic. Taste and add more salt and pepper if you wanna.
- Sprinkle with chives before serving.
- Eat with pita chips or other crackers, crudité, ruffled or un-ruffled potato chips, or just scoop some out with your finger. Not that I've done that.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 457Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 1153mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate.
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