Before I decided to make dessert my career, I was into cooking in general and made creative dinners nightly. The first time I ever came upon ramps I snatched them up...but I don't remember what I did with them. Probably risotto, which I was obsessed with at the time (though mine was nowhere near as rampy as Kenji's). Other than observing their inevitable presence in the produce walk-in at the start of spring, I haven't encountered them much since then. But I married a cook from the other side of the kitchen, and he goes on Holy Grail-esque quests for ramps as soon as it starts to warm up outside.
For months he'd been telling me about some amazing ramp drop biscuits he had the recipe for, and when he returned with a bag full of the springy little shoots the other day, I got busy.
Biscuits are so neutral on their own that they make an awesome vehicle for the sweet, mild flavor of ramps. If your ramps are younger, earlier, skinnier little guys, you can thinly slice the bulb and add it right in. If not, use only the leaves (unless you want to caramelize the bulbs in a little butter first).
We enjoyed these with roast chicken and gravy, but they'd also be wonderful with just some nice butter or maybe even a bacon jam.
Notes: This recipe can easily be halved if you only want a few biscuits. Biscuits can also be frozen, unbaked, by scooping onto a lined baking sheet and allowing to freeze solid in the freezer. Frozen biscuits can then be stored in a plastic freezer bag for later use; just allow to thaw very slightly before baking and be sure to bake until done, even if it's for longer than the recipe says.
If your ramps have large bulbs, use only the leaves. Young, early ramps with very thin bulbs are best, though. And if you don't have a stand mixer, you can make these by hand with a pastry cutter and a large mixing bowl.
- Yield:makes 12 biscuits
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:30 to 40 minutes
- 4 cups (about 20 ounces) all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- About 12 young ramps, bulbs chopped fine and leaves cut into thin strips (about 2/3 cups)
- 2 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
- Freshly ground black pepper
Set a rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. In bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Turn mixer on to low speed, then add butter and mix until butter is in pea-sized or smaller chunks, about 4 minutes. Add ramps, then drizzle in buttermilk. Once buttermilk is mostly absorbed, turn off mixer and carefully fold any stray flour or buttermilk into the dough with a rubber spatula.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat. Scoop biscuits into 1/2 cup mounds, leaving at least 2 inches between each biscuit on all sides. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan, reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until lightly colored on top and firm to the touch, Allow to cool slightly before eating.