Serious Eats: Recipes

Ramp Compound Butter

Ramps close-up

Dirty, dirty ramps.

Ramps are only in season for about a month or two, but there are a few ways to preserve them so you can enjoy their flavor all year long. My favorite long-term preservation technique is making ramp compound butter and storing it in the freezer. The ramps, locked inside the confines of the frozen butter like Han Solo in carbonite, are essentially stored indefinitely, capturing the "rampy" essence of early spring at any time of year.

The most common compound butter is beurre maitre d'hotel, or hotel butter, composed of shallots, garlic, fines herbes, lemon zest, salt, and pepper; the recipe that follows is a variation on this theme. Generally used for broiled or grilled meats or fish, hotel butter functions as a sort of flavor-inducing sauce. You may find a slice of it sitting, slowly melting, on top of a steak in your steak frites.

Ramp compound butter is great in a pinch, as you can easily pull a log out of the freezer and cut off a slice or two. It's especially good on pasta, in a risotto, or—my preference—tucked underneath the breast skin of a chicken. If you can keep it until fall, it works great under the skin of a Thanksgiving turkey. Don't delay—ramp season is short and is almost over.

Ramps before and after

The ramps are cleaned and then blanched, ready to be chopped.

Ramp mise en place

Ramp butter mise en place.

Ramps pre-rolled

After mixing, about a 1/2 pound of butter per roll will do.

Rolling ramps

The compound butter is rolled up tight.

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