Each year I look forward to spring, not just for the warmer temperatures and chirping birds, but also for the start of our food cycle. Typically ramps and morels kick it off but with the severe fluctuation in temperature I was afraid all hope was lost for these foraged goodies. Luckily I was wrong and with the cool Memorial Weekend, foragers were out in full force gathering up bunches of ramps and bags of morels for our enjoyment.
I’ve made quite a few recipes with ramps in the past and they work well with any recipe that calls for garlic, onions, or leeks. My favorite ramp recipe comes from a childhood friend and since it is so indulgent, it’s probably a good thing that ramps only come around once a year.
This recipe is quite similar to a cheesy garlic bread, but with an upscale twist. Typically I use slices of brie but this year I wanted to try a camembert and blue cheese mix called Cambozola. It’s creamy like a brie or camembert but pungent like a blue cheese and is simply delicious for blue cheese lovers like me. Here’s what you do:
Slice open a loaf of ciabatta bread lengthwise and slather it with butter. Thinly slice or chop a bunch of ramps (greens and all) and sprinkle over the buttered ciabatta. Top with slices of Cambozola and place on a foil covered baking sheet. Place under a pre-heated broiler for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let cool slightly and slice into pieces for serving. Voila, you now have fancy cheese bread! Just about any cheese will work for this recipe, so feel free to choose something milder or go bold with the Cambozola.
Since most stores rely on foragers to provide ramps, it’s a good idea to call ahead to local co-ops and see what the current supply looks like. I’ve had recent success at Whole Foods and past success at Mississippi Market. Act quickly – the season is short!