More Ramps: Crostini with Sautéed Ramps

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More ramps? Yes, please. Ramp season is fleeting, so now is the time to take advantage of these baby leeks by the bunch.  Tiny and fragile they may be, but do not underestimate these delicate onions – they pack a punch in the flavor department. Their unique flavor is a cross between a green onion and garlic. Eaten raw, ramps are sharp and pungent, making a distinct impression in salads, pestos, gremolatas or simply as a garnish. Cooking ramps will result in a kinder gentler version of themselves, coaxing out their natural sweetness and softening their shape into slippery ribbons with the added character of a little char.

Crostini with sautéed ramps is one of my favorite ways to showcase seasonal food: minimally, with few adorning ingredients thus allowing the flavors of the key ingredient to shine through. In this case, baguette slices are browned in olive oil in a skillet. Ramps are added to the same skillet and sautéed until tender and golden brown, then heaped over mild and creamy buffalo mozzarella. A chiffonade of ramp leaves serves as an efficient garnish along with a simple pinch of sea salt. What you see is what you get: One skillet and 3 ingredients create a sweet and savory, creamy and crunchy mouthful that will send you to the market for more ramps. Hurry, though, the season is short.

Crostini with Sautéed Ramps
Makes 8

Extra-virgin olive oil
8 – 1/2″ thick slices baguette
8 ramps, ends trimmed, leaves trimmed and reserved
sea salt
1 ball buffalo mozzarella (approx. 8 ounces) room temperature, cut in half, each half cut in 4 slices

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange baguette slices in one layer. Cook until golden brown on both sides; remove. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet. Add ramps; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté until golden brown and soft. Remove from heat. Slice ramps in half lengthwise.
Take 4 reserved ramp leaves and stack on top of one another. Roll up lengthwise. Cut horizontally in thin strips. Arrange crostini on a serving plate. Place a mozzarella slice on crostini. Top with ramps. Garnish with ramp leaf chiffonade. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.

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