This recipe is a play on the classic vichyssoise soup. Traditionally, vichyssoise is served cold, but it can be served hot as well. This soup is perfect for spring weather when one day it is warm and sunny, and the next it’s chilly and raining. I recommend serving the soup cold on warm, sunny days, and hot on cold, rainy days.
Now, let’s talk about ramps!
“Rampamania” takes place about two months of the year, falling between April and June. Ramps are considered a wild leek. I like to describe a ramp as a leek with some punch to it. “Rampamania”, as we call it in professional kitchens, is a special time for three reasons. First, ramps are loaded with delicious oniony flavor. Second, they are the first spring ingredient to pop up, signaling that “Spring has Sprung”. Third, they’re versatile. You can pickle, ferment, grill, fry or sauté them, fold them into soups, or even finely slice them to be eaten raw in salads.
You can easily identify ramps by their leaves. They can have one, two or three broad leaves that measure 4 to 12 inches long by 1 to 3 inches wide. You can also tell it’s a ramp by their pungent, onion-like odor.
If you’re not up for foraging the ramps yourself, there are plenty of local foragers that will do it for you. Deep Forest Wild Edibles in Beacon, NY is a forager that comes highly recommended. James O’Neill, the owner, sustainably harvests ramps by only taking 25 percent of what he finds. After harvesting them, he transplants a percentage of the ramps back into the earth so they continue to grow in the years to come. The worst thing you can do is over harvest ramps since they are slow growing and need to seed properly each year in order to return in the future.
Potato Ramp Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 35 to 45 minutes | Total Time: Less than 1 hour | Yield: 4 cups
- 2 cups of ramp greens, packed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup ramp bulbs, thinly sliced
- 1 cup leeks (whites only), thinly sliced
- 4 cups Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup cream
- 1/4 cup crème fraîche
- 2 cups ice
- 4 cups water
- Additional water, as needed (for the ice bath and blanching the ramp greens)
- Salt, to taste
Step by Step
Blanch the Ramp Greens
1.Place 2 cups of ice in a large bowl. Cover the ice with just enough water to make an ice bath
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
3. Add ramp greens and cook for 25 to 30 seconds until slightly wilted and bright green
4. Once wilted, plunge the greens into the ice bath so they stop cooking and retain their bright green color
5. Reserve the ramps chilled
Cook the Aromatic Vegetables
6. In a small pot with straight sides, melt butter over medium heat
7. Add sliced leeks and ramp bulbs and season with salt right away, which will draw liquid out of the ramps and create a beautiful flavor
8. Cook without color (sweat) for 3 to 5 minutes until both the leeks and ramps are translucent
9. Add potatoes and sweat for 5 minutes without color
10. Adjust seasoning if needed
Finish Cooking the Potatoes
11. Cover the vegetables with 4 cups of water and reduce to low heat
12. Simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes
Blend the Soup
13. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend while slowly adding heavy cream
14. Season with salt
15. Next, blend in the chilled ramp greens from earlier to add color and flavor
Chill & Serve
16. Place the mixture in a bowl, then place the bowl into the ice bath
17. Quickly whisk to cool the soup
18. Once chilled, whisk in the crème fraîche
19. Adjust seasoning to taste
20. Enjoy now, or store up to 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.