Wild harvesting is a joy—full of treasures from violets to berries. Better still, it comes with a stroll in nature, even if just to the backyard! Spring is my favorite foraging season; after barren winter, an edible discovery is a wonder. My most recent “find” is a small harvest of wild ramps which I used to make a Wild Ramp Goat Cheese Spread.
Wild ramps have a unique flavor that combines the essence of a mild onion with a hint of garlic. They thrive under forest canopy, popping up in spring alongside the showy wild trilliums.
But the ramp’s reputation is growing and there is increasing concern about overharvesting. So I try to use them in recipes that “stretch” their flavor (no shelves full of pickled ramps), harvest on private land with permission and follow sustainable harvesting practices like harvesting gently with a dandelion digger and leaving most of the clump undisturbed. (If you want to try wild harvesting, always be sure you know what you are picking and beware of dangerous lookalikes.)
Even if there are no ramps in your neighborhood, you can still get a taste of this creamy spread. Just mix green onions (scallions) and a little garlic to simulate the wild onion flavor. Mixed with whipped fresh chevre, you get a creamy savory treat that says, “finally, winter has passed.”
- 10 ounces fresh goat cheese (aka chevre) at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoon milk or cream
- 3 wild ramps, both bulb and leaves (see notes for alternative)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Whip the room temperature goat cheese, salt and milk or cream until fluffy.
- Finely mince the ramps then fold into the cheese.
- Refrigerate at least a couple hours to allow flavors to blend.
- Serve with crackers or slices of French bread.
- Refrigerate any leftovers and use within a few days.
- If you can't get wild ramps, you can substitute 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (2-3) plus a finely minced garlic glove or a pinch of garlic powder.