Ramp Season: Ricotta Spread

27 Apr

Ramp season is here, as you can see from my Greenmarket report on Serious Eats: New York. In addition to the fervent excitement, and the backlash, Kenji at Serious Eats has chimed in with a thoughtful rant, setting up the backlash to the backlash, and even providing a few recipes. Check them out; they all look good. Below, one that I like to make. If you’re looking for more ramp inspiration, the most versatile thing you can do is make ramp butter, and stash it in the freezer. It lasts forever, long past the terribly short ramp season, which lasts only about a month.

ricotta spread with ramps

I first had this ricotta spread at my friend Maggie Hoffman’s house (she’s also an editor at Serious Eats, and heads up their recently launched Drinks section). I think it’s from Andrew Carmellini’s cookbook, but to me it’s Maggie’s recipe. Funny how that works, right? In any case, I think I’ve fudged it enough that I don’t know if Maggie or Andrew Carmellini would recognize it anymore. But it tastes great!

I like to make it with whatever is really good at the market: right now that’s ramps, after a quick spin in the food processor, but you can substitute any herb you like. Basil, thyme, oregano, mint, or, in a pinch, no herbs at all. The key, as with many recipes with this few ingredients, is using the best olive oil and the best ricotta you can get your hands on. Look at the amounts listed below as a suggestion; you can make more or less, and I tend to eyeball everything. I know this looks stupidly simple, but if you make a batch and bring it to a party, people will freak out. Seriously. (Apologies for the picture here; it looked better before we ate half the bowl, but I regretfully forgot to photograph it)

Ricotta Spread with Ramps

2 cups or so ricotta cheese (get the good stuff if you can find it at an Italian market or farmers’ market, but don’t sweat it–the original recipe calls for sheep’s milk ricotta but I can never find it and usually just use cow’s milk ricotta)
1 cup or so milk (I use 1%, because that’s what I always have on hand, but I’m sure whole milk would make this even more luscious)
1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped ramps (I use the food processor for this)

1. Whip together the ricotta and enough of the milk to make it a smooth, spreadable consistency. Then add the olive oil, ramps, and some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a bit more olive oil if necessary. Transfer to a serving bowl.
2. Drizzle with more olive oil, and serve with crackers, sliced baguette, toast, whatever you want.

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