It is finally ramp season here in these West Virginia mountains. I always know that it’s time when I pass people selling ramps on my way home. Not only that, the Richwood Ramp Festival was just a couple of weeks ago. Richwood is known as the Ramp Capital of the World.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1) Ramps With Potatoes and Eggs
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 cup ramps, white parts and leaves, chopped
2-3 medium size potatoes, peeled and chopped
5 large eggs
salt, pepper, and chives
Cook bacon in a large frying pan, remove, drain, and chop it up, then set aside. Using the same pan with the bacon grease, fry ramps and potatoes over low heat, covered, until the potatoes are soft. Crack the eggs over the ramps and potatoes mixture and fry, covered, until the eggs are done to however you like them. Sprinkle on some shredded Cheddar. Season with salt, pepper, and chives to taste. Serve immediately and top with the chopped bacon.
2) Ramp Casserole
3 beaten eggs
4-5 diced 1/2 inch potatoes
6-8 ramp onions
1/2 lb pork sausage
1/2 cup of American cheese
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of milk
Cook potatoes in pan of water until tender and soft. Steam the ramps over potatoes using metal strainer for 2 -3 minutes; chop ramps. Drain the potatoes and add the chopped ramps. In a skillet, fry the sausage and drain. Combine this with the potatoes, add eggs, cheese, salt and milk. Mix together in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
3) Buttermilk Ramp Biscuits
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 bunch ramps (just under 1/3 lb)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, 8 TBS very cold and cubed; 2 TBS melted
8 tablespoons all-vegetable shortening
In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and 4 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour. Add buttermilk and whisk to combine. Cover the bowl and let set for about 30 minutes, there will be slight foaming. Wash and dry the ramps. Coarsely chop white and light green parts and mince about 2 tablespoons of the leaves. With a mixer, combine remaining flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and chopped ramps. Add butter and shortening and mix on medium-high until pebbly-looking. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix gently by hand until just combined. The dough should be kinda sticky. Using your hands with some flour on them, turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead gently just until it starts to have a little spring. Form dough into a ball and squish into a disc about 3/4 inch thick. Cut out circles using a biscuit cutter or, if you don’t have one, a regular glass works too. Brush the biscuits with melted butter and let set, uncovered, for about an hour. Preheat oven to 400 F. Place biscuits about an inch apart on baking sheets with wax paper on them and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until browned, rotating the baking pans halfway through.
4) Pickled Ramps
1 pound ramps, carefully washed, ends trimmed
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup salt
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon yellow or black mustard seed
6 allspice berries
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Carefully put ramps into a clean quart-sized mason jar with a screw-top lid. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring them to a boil, whisking until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour hot brine over ramps, only enough to fill the jar and then get rid of the extra. Screw on the lid and allow to cool at room temperature. Move it to refrigerator and allow to set for at least 3 weeks and up to a year before eating.
5) White Cheese Pizza with Ramps
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
1 cup coarsely grated fresh mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large bowl, whisk the flour together with the yeast, salt and sugar. Pour in the water and stir to form a dough. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Move the pizza dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel and let stand in a warm place, like a microwave, until the pizza dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Set a pizza stone on the bottom or on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 500° for at least 30 minutes.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the ramps until they are bright green, about 1 minute. Drain, pat dry and cut into 1-inch lengths.
Punch down the pizza dough and transfer it to a lightly floured coutertop. Roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza pan or a baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on the grated mozzarella. Sprinkle the blanched ramps over the mozzarella and season lightly with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Slide the pizza from the pizza pan onto the hot pizza stone. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust is browned and crisp on the bottom. Move the pizza to a cutting board, serve immediately!
6) Ramps and Sausage Risotto
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound hot Italian sausages, with the casing removed
12 ramps; bulbs and slender stems sliced, green tops thinly sliced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry vermouth
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, with some extra for topping
Melt the butter in large saucepan over medium heat and then add the sausage. Cook until no longer pink, and break it up as you go, for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced ramp bulbs and stems. Sautee until almost tender, for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and stir for about 1 minute. Add vermouth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, for about 1 minute. Add 3 cups chicken broth, 1 cup at a time, simmering until almost absorbed before adding the next cup and stirring consistently. Continue cooking until rice is just tender and risotto is creamy, adding more broth if dry and stirring often, for about 18 to 20 minutes. Mix in green leafy tops and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately!
7) Spaghetti with Ramps
1 pound dry spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, with some also for drizzling onto it
8 ounces fresh ramps, white root ends and green leafy tops separated
1 to 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons salt and return to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package direction, until tender.
Heat olive oil in a 12-to-14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add root ends from ramps to pan and cook, stirring, until tender. Season with red pepper flakes and salt. Add leafy greens from ramps and cook, stirring, until the leaves look wilted.
Drain the pasta and add to the skillet. Toss it gently to coat pasta with sauce. Divide pasta evenly and then drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
8) Ramp Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 to 3 ramps, cleaned, white part minced, green parts halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Transfer the butter mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and roll gently to form an even log; wrap and twist ends to seal. Butter may be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.
My grandmother absolutely loves ramps! She is actually from Richwood, West Virginia! She just traveled to Nicholas County on April 18th to celebrate with the locals at the Ramp Festival.