The German in me loves a good spaetzle, and I will make the little dumplings out of just about anything I can. Ramp leaves and green plants make great ones.
The key to getting your spaetzle to actually taste like ramps is a little tricky though--you’re going to need a blender, preferably a vita mix, although you can probably get by with a food processor.
The secret is all in using the ramp leaves raw, without blanching them, making them into a dough, and then cooking them a second time in water.
With a raw purée of ramp leaves, the dough will soak up all of their rampy goodness, and you’ll still be able to taste it even after blanching, frying in butter, and tossing with whatever you like.
Generally I fry them up crisp in butter and toss them with herbs, like parsley, but a few mushrooms or a little diced bacon is great too.
- collander or spaetzle maker or potato ricer
- 8 oz ramp leaves
- ¾ cup water
- 3 large eggs
- 1.5 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard optional
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese optional
- Chop the ramp leaves, then put in a blender with the water and eggs, working in batches if needed, until you can buzz it up to a smooth puree. Pour the ramp slurry into a bowl and mix well with the flour.
- Ideally you’ll let the batter rest for 30 minutes now to autolyze the gluten.
- Mix in the salt, mustard and parmesan. Meanwhile, bring a gallon of water to a simmer, and, using a spaetzle maker or a colander, pour the batter through the holes. If you’re using a colander, you’ll want to put a good amount in and press around with a spatula.
- Every few minutes, skim the cooked spaetzle off using a strainer or slotted spoon, and transfer to an oiled baking tray, cookie sheet, etc.
- When the spaetzle are cooked, rinse them lightly with water to remove starch, then toss with a touch of oil to prevent sticking. From here the spaetzle can be made a day or two in advance. To cook, fry them in butter and toss with herbs.