Roasted Spring Ramps, Burrata Cream, Butter Soaked Croutons, Parsley Oil

Savory Recipes, Spring • 17 May 2013

Finding beauty in the ephemeral is poetry. As humans we long for the fleeting, we lust for the tenuous. Spring ramps are poetry, and their transitory nature adds to their glorification and their elusiveness. There’s lure in the transient.

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With their sultry, peppery aroma and rich oniony-garlicky flavor, ramps are ample for a very limited period. And it is their brief but glorious lifespan that defines their desirability. Their flat, broad leaves and evocative feathery plume beguile us with a come-hither suggestiveness.

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I roast a bounty of ramps in a bath of slippery olive oil, a splatter of voluptuous sherry vinegar and mouth puckering lemon juice. The creamy white stems caramelize, the formerly verdant leaves coiling and wilting under the oven’s sultry spell. They emit a fearless, heady scent while cooking.

Though I consume a tangle of sweltering, tender ramps straight from the baking sheet, I let a handful rest to drape over butter drenched croutons and creamy, briny clouds of pearl-white burrata, all dappled with a staccato of juicy emerald-green parsley oil.

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Like spring, ramps allure and tempt. In a flash they are gone, swaying their teasing hips as they disappear into summer’s haze.

Roasted Spring Ramps, Burrata Cream, Butter Soaked Croutons, Parsley Oil

1/2 pound leeks
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar such as Pedro Ximenez
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup olive oil

1 loaf of French bread, sliced on the bias into 3/4-inch slices
7-8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 medium clove garlic
5 ounces burrata or stracciatella
1/2 chopped tightly packed parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil

1. To clean ramps, remove thin outer layer and rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove dirt. Trim the roots and dry with a dish towel.

2. In a small bowl add sherry vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar and whisk in olive oil. Add clean leeks to a large bowl or a glass baking pan, toss with marinade to coat. Chill in refrigerator for about two hours.

3. While the leeks marinate, make parsley oil. Add parsley leaves and oil to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Push through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard parsley. Set aside the green oil to drizzle on croutons. If you prefer, use both the oil and the parsley for a chunkier sauce.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread ramps on a baking sheet and roast about 20 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

5. While ramps are roasting, spread butter on both sides of the toast slices. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake, while ramps are roasting, for about 13-15 minutes until slightly crispy but still soft and springy. Turn once during baking.

6. Remove ramps from oven and let cool. Leave whole or cut into 2-inch pieces.

7. When croutons are cool enough to touch, rub one side with the garlic clove. Top each toast with burrata and one to two ramps. Drizzle with parsley oil.

Yield: Serves 8 as an appetizer.

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