West Virginia takes great pride in the wild ramp season, altogether too brief. If you are fortunate to find some, and can afford the ransom (!), the intense flavor of onion and garlic along with the bonus of edible leaves makes it worth at least an occasional taste. In this soup, the ramp shines and lends a flavor that can’t be duplicated easily, although it does remind me of a combination of leek and sorrel soup.
Because of the cost, one of my wonderful shoots (see growth habits), talented cooks in their own right, decided to use less ramps and introduce some potatoes and onion to fill out the soup. It’s fabulous! If you aren’t lucky enough to find ramps at the farm market, try leek and sorrel or even leek and watercress.
1 T ghee or unsalted butter
1 T olive oil
1 sweet onion, minced
3 bunches ramps (about 1/2#)
2 organic potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 C)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C dry white wine
1 1/2 qt. organic chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
freshly ground white pepper
1 C freshly grated excellent parmesan
1/2 C crème fraiche or sour cream
1/2 C chopped fresh chives
Thoroughly wash ramps of sand. Slice white parts in 1/4 inch rounds and separately slice leaves in 1 inch sections. Melt 1 T butter in 1 T olive oil in heavy soup pan (4 qt.). Saute white part of ramp and onion over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add cubed potato and 1/2 tsp salt and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add wine, bring to a simmer and add stock. Simmer mixture for 20 minutes until potatoes are just tender. Add chopped greens, simmer for 2 minutes more.
Add lemon juice, hot sauce, and white pepper. Puree mixture with a stick blender or in batches in a stand blender until thoroughly liquefied. Stir in grated cheese. After cheese has melted, ladle into flat bowls and garnish each bowl with 1 T crème fraiche and chopped chives. It is great fun to pull a knife through the crème fraiche and make decorations before sprinkling on the chives. Let each guest do their own decoration! (Sorry, we shot the photo before we pulled the knife trick!)