Artichokes with melted ramp butter? No, no that won’t suck at all.
I’ve been getting a good amount of questions about how to use ramp leaf butter after it’s made. To me, there’s so many options that the possibilities seem endless, but I get that it can help to have some very specific examples. One of the best ways to use it is as you would any other compound butter—just apply it to things and eat. With a steak or a piece of fish, you might want a quivering, gently melting slice on top, placed on the hot meat at the perfect moment when it hits the plate for you to bask in the melting, basting glory that is arguably the most widely made preserve of everyone’s favorite wild leek.
Other times, I might literally melt it and dip stuff in it, like you see here: my new favorite way to eat artichokes. Artichokes are so minimalist, so pure and clean, I second guessed myself as I microwaved (yes I’ve started using the infernal but occasionally useful machine) a fat lump of ramp leaf butter to dip my artichoke leaves in one night, but there was no need to worry.
The toe curling smell alone of the steaming hot butter and it's verdant tone was enough to dissuade any doubts outright. It’s hard to describe, but the aroma is a dead ringer for something along the line of garlic breadsticks from another dimension. It’s just one of those things—whispy scent fingers that hypnotize and pull you towards them like Bugs Bunny to a carrot cake steaming on a windowsill, calling, demanding, crying to be eaten.
Funny story too, part of the reason for pairing the ramp butter with artichokes was my own selfish creature comforts. I can’t eat enough wild leeks: raw, fermented, pickled—every which way. My partner has an allergy though—she can’t have alliums in any way shape or form, unless they’re beyond cooked—say in soup, stew, or otherwise long-cooked. Wouldn’t you know it though, gently melted ramp butter paired with a big juicy artichoke apparently doesn’t cause any problems for her at all! Maybe there’s some sort of new, unnamed gastro-symbiosis that happens when the two are eaten together? Or maybe it’s just so damn good she doesn’t care. 😉
Steamed Artichokes with Ramp Butter
- 4 ea Artichokes choose firm, nicely green artichokes without too many blemishes, preferably organic or from your local coop
- 8 tbsp ramp leaf butter
- Put the artichokes in a steamer basket in a larger pot with a few inches of water, then bring to a simmer, covered, turn the heat down to low, and steam until tender, roughly 20-30 minutes. depending on your artichoke.
- To test the tenderness, I see if a leaf of two removes easily, if they do, it's done.
- When the artichokes are done, melt the ramp leaf butter in a pan, or just toss it in the microwave, then divide into 4 small dipping bowls.
- Serve the artichokes with the butter on the side for dipping, along with a larger bowl at the table for collecting the spent leaves and choke. If this isn't the best tasting way to have artichokes you've ever had, please contact me for a full refund.