Recipe by Local Roots recipe contributor, Emily Hanhan, @nomnivorous
12-18 ramps (1/4 to 1/3 pound)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 cups liquid - mix of stock, broth and/or water (for example, I used 2 cups water & 2 cups vegetable broth)
1.5 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup stone ground grits
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Divide the ramps into the leafy green and red parts and the white bases. Slice the white bases and keep the green parts whole.
2. In a large pot, bring water to boil. Blanch the green parts of the ramps for 45 seconds.
3. Move the greens to a strainer and run under cold water until the greens are cold to touch.
4. Put the cold ramp greens into a blender or food processor and blend or puree. Add water if needed to make a sauce-y texture (I added 2-3 tablespoons of water.) Reserve the puree.
5. In the same large pot, dump out the hot water and add 2 tablespoons of butter and the sliced white ramps. Put the heat to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the butter is melted and the ramps are a little tender.
6. Add the liquid to the pot, put the cover on and turn the heat to high. Once the liquid is boiling, add 1.5 teaspoons salt.
7. Turn the heat to medium-low and slowly sprinkle in the grits to the water, stirring with a whisk constantly. Slow and steady sprinkling in the grits to the water will help avoid clumpy grits. (Shout out to Nicole Taylor for this grits trick!)
8. Once all the grits are incorporated, put the lid back on the pot and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir regularly - I usually open the lid every 2 minutes or so and give it a thorough stir. As you check it, if the grits are looking too thick or unappealing in texture, add more liquid as needed.
9. At 20 minutes, turn the heat to very low and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Cover and cook another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
10. Once the grits have reached a soft and plump texture, turn the heat off and stir in the ramp puree and Parmesan cheese. Take a taste and see if it needs the additional bit of salt, more cheese or even a squeeze of lemon juice.
11. Serve right away, with a bit more Parmesan cheese on top. Make it a more hefty full meal by adding a poached egg, a pile of cooked greens or something meaty on top.
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