No, I’m not better than making homemade ranch dressing with ramp leaves. Dried ramp leaves are one of the best wild ingredients to preserve for your pantry in the off season, and there’s probably not a better poster child for them than in some good ol’ramp leaf ranch.
Now, I’ve made ranch-type sauces out of ramps for a long time, and for a while I was a purist, using only fresh ramps for it. As time’s gone on, I’ve learned the power of the dried wild leek leaf, and, just like that dried packet of wonder Hidden Valley makes (sarcasm here) there’s really something to be said for dried herbs.
Unlike that packet of Hidden valley dip though, it’s going to take a little time for your ranchy ramp ranch to reach peak flavor, that is, if you use dried leaves only. Adding dried bulbs will kick up the flavor pretty fast, and I have a separate recipe for ranch specifically using them back when I had a thing for drying lots of bulbs. But, it’s much easier to just dry the leaves, so, for ease, that’s the recipe I’m sharing, and it’s still great.
The key is to let the dressing sit for a bit, give it a few good shakes, and let it rest and bloom overnight. Unless you powder your ramp leaves, it might not taste as punchy as say, a packet of Ranch from the store at first. It takes time for that aroma to soak into dairy, and you’ll notice a big difference a day or two after everythings mixed up.
After you like the taste, it’s good on all kinds of things: vegetable crudite, fried things, as a sauce for chicken or fish, or just a dip for fingers or small hands that can fit in the jar.
Ramp Leaf Ranch Dressing
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¾ cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- A few scrapes of lemon zest
- Buttermilk a tablespoon or two, to thin it to your taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- 1 heaping tablespoon crushed dried ramp leaves or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried powdered ramp bulbs or ramp seeds optional
- If your ramps seem soft, or not bone dry, toast them in a dehydrator on high heat, around 145 overnight, until they can be easily crumbled, which will distribute the flavor better. Toasting in an oven is another option.
- Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate, stirring occasionally to distribute the contents, then use for dipping all the things. The sauce will greatly improve in flavor the day after making.