Ramp compound butter:
I set out two sticks of butter to soften. In a small food processor, I minced 5 whole ramps (bulbs and leaves) with the juice of half of a lemon. Then mixed it all together, rolled into logs and put into the freezer. Then I'll just cut rounds when I need them. Although I can clearly see a a day in the future when I simply take out a whole log to thaw and use it to make awesome garlic bread. This stuff smeared on toasted bread = heaven.
Last year I made pesto with just ramps. It was a little too pungent, so this year I used 60% ramps, 40% parsley. Tastes so much better. I added toasted walnuts, parm cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice. I like to freeze it in an ice cube tray because I'm the only one in the house that eats pesto, so it's easy for me to take out a cube and use it for my pasta.
And the coup de grace: Picked Ramps:
I used this recipe from Steamy Kitchen, which is based on a Momofuku recipe.
All the ingredients were already in my cupboard (sugar, salt, rice wine vinegar, Korean crushed red pepper flakes) apart from the Shichimi Togarashi. I hit up both local asian food stores, asking for Japanese 7 Spice. I got a blank stare back and a question, "Chinese 5 Spice?" I went to try my luck at the Co-op.
"You mean Chinese 5 Spice?"
No. Japanese 7 Spice. (All this made me want to go around asking for fake spices- Korean 12 Spice... Chilean 1 Spice... Egyptian 45 Spice...)
Anyway, I sadly trudged to the spice section and forced my hand to take a jar of the McCormick Pickling Spice blend. Sad. I didn't really want to turn my ramps into dill pickles but if that's my lot in life, then... I guess...
But wait. I went back to the same Co-op employee and asked if they carried soju. I drank a lot of soju in Korea years ago and I've been looking for it ever since- and I felt a sudden, intense desire to drink away my disappointment. The guy was probably wondering if I was simply there to ask him for obscure things that no one's ever heard of before. He said no to the soju BUT he had looked up Japanese 7 Spice on a store computer (which convinced me that he was, indeed, fact-checking the validity of my request) and found what 7 spices it was made of. And they had all those spices in bulk. He pulled them all for me and said I can just pour however much I wanted.
O. Muh. G. That's awesome. I needed hardly any of the spices, so it only came to something ridiculous like $1 to get it all. Seriously, I felt silly buying 4 cents of white sesame seeds, 5 cents of black sesame seeds, 14 cents of seaweed, etc. But. I just got a tablespoon or two of each.
Back at home, I used my mortar and pestle to grind them all together.
I only used a couple tablespoons for the brine, so I'm storing the leftover 7 Spice in a jar.
The brine was easy to make and I put the ramps into a couple jars in the fridge. I might make some more and give a jar to my mom for mother's day. Because nothing says "I love and appreciate you, mom" like stinky, spicy, pickled, pungent ramps. ... Right?