Spring produce and Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread

Yesterday, a glance at the weather for the remainder of the week convinced me to abandon the dishes and the laundry and head outdoors. If I was to get only one day of sunshine, I’d better make the most of it.

Today there is a slight stiffness to my shoulders from the garden work and my fingernails need attention, but the raised beds are half planted. The roots of the small seedlings will be kept damp with the coming rain and that is one less chore for me. It feels good to be a step ahead of things, at least in the gardening department. Let’s not speak of the state of my house. The kitchen alone is shell-shocked from Danny preparing two meals on Mother’s Day, bless his heart.

While I worked around our homestead and Clara amused herself by poking grass (and the occasional stick, yikes!) into the chicken coop, I kept a bowl handy to collect edibles. Salad ingredients don’t always show themselves as lettuce leaves and cucumber slices; sometimes you have to think outside of the box.

Early spring produce | Simple Bites

I found more than I anticipated. By the time I was ready to step indoors for a second cup of coffee, I had gathered the ingredients above and was already planning lunch.

What is this spring produce? It is truly the first fruits of the property, both foraged and harvested from the garden. Clockwise from the top:

  • Rhubarb: the spring vegetable that is often the star of pies and punch, jam and cake.
  • Dandelion greens: great for adding to salads. Pick them young and wash them well. My mother’s favourite.
  • Chives: new and tender, used in everything from omelettes to cornbread, chicken salad to guacamole.
  • Ramps: those wild leeks, foraged from the forest floor. Delicious in potato salad, pesto, eggs and soup.
  • Oregano: the first perennial herb to revive in the garden. Thank goodness, because I am ready for our favourite chicken recipe.

ramps in forest | simple bites #foraging

The ramps are clearly the delicacy of the bunch in yesterday’s harvest. They grow wild on my property and over the past four springs I have seen the patch more than triple in size, thanks to my harvesting them in a sustainable and respectful fashion.

Ramps, or wild leeks, are bulbs that grow in clumps. They multiply quickly through bulb division, but I have found that the age-old garden technique of thinning the patch has contributed tremendously to the spread of ramps.

Harvesting ramps | simple bites #foraging

Clara is always game for a short trek into the woods and we’re both relieved that we can finally leave boots and snowpants behind. She trails behind me, taking her time and frequently bending over to pick up small stones, sticks or wildflowers. One morning she poked at a little frog, who was motionless on a leaf, and she jumped back, a little startled. Now, she’s always on the lookout for froggie friends.

bundle of ramps | Simple Bites #foraging

The flavour of a ramp hints of garlic, but is most like the tender yellow interior stalks of a leek. In previous years we have spoiled ourselves by adding chopped ramps to our morning egg scramble, blitzing the tender greens into pesto for pasta, and roasting them with mushrooms

This spring, however, I’m onto something new: the Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread. I prepped it for a recent Sunday dinner with friends, stuffing the crevices of cut loaf with sliced ramps and drizzling a little olive oil in there too. I baked it while we sipped our Raspberry-Rhubarb Collins and served it up, crispy and laden with melted cheese alongside lasagna and Caesar salad.

Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread | Simple Bites #recipe

Please excuse these poor excuses for photos, but I had waiting guests and an iPhone snap was all I took time for. I think it’s says enough: make me now.

Gaby’s recipe was my inspiration, her version a tantalizing combination of Colby, chipotle chilies and ciabatta. I decided on a country loaf, mostly because a local bakery makes a mean miche (no, I did not bake the bread) which I topped with with additional ramp greens. It was as entirely scrumptious; seasonal comfort food at its finest, I dare say.

Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread | Simple Bites #recipe

Parmesan and mozzarella are my cheeses of choice for this side dish; mozza adds the necessary stretch and Parmesan brings the flavour. Feel free to use whatever cheese you have in your refrigerator.

Cheesy Ramp Pull-Apart Bread

Garlic bread gets an update in this irresistible loaf scented with fresh spring ramps and loaded with Parmesan cheese.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dishes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 207kcal
Author: Aimee

Ingredients

  • 6 ramps
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 loaf whole grain miche or country loaf
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Trim the ends of the ramps and discard. Slice off the greens and reserve. Mince the bulbs finely or pulverize in a mortar and pestle.
  • Mix olive oil and the crushed ramps together and let infuse while you prepare the bread.
  • Using a sharp bread knife, slice 1-inch grid lines into the loaf, stopping before you cut through the bottom crust.
  • Place the bread on a foil-lined pan. Using a pastry brush, rub the ramp-oil into the cut sections of the bread, getting into all the crevasses. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Mix the two cheeses together in a small bowl. Remove the loaf from the oven and open the foil. Use a fork to separate the cross-hatches in the bread and sprinkle the cheese evenly in the cuts. Leave the foil open and return the bread to the oven.
  • Bake cheesy ramp pull-apart bread for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the exterior is crispy and the cheese is melted. Meanwhile, slice the tops of the ramps.
  • Remove bread from the oven and sprinkle generously with chopped ramps. Serve at once.

Notes

Green onions and garlic may be substituted for the ramps in this recipe. Pulverize the garlic with the olive oil and use the green tops of the onion to finish the bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 24mg | Vitamin A: 455IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Got more ramps?

Try these recipes:

Warm Potato Salad with Grainy Mustard, Bacon & Ramps
Butter Roasted Mushrooms & Ramps with Lemon
Spring Ramp, Radish & Spinach Soup

#EatSeasonal

A group of us are kinda into eating seasonally, inspired by Becky’s seasonal eating guide. If that sounds cool with you, check out participating bloggers this week for a wave of delicious new recipes featuring May produce.

May eat seasonal illustration

What is in your produce drawer this month?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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Comments

  1. I feel like I’m seeing ramps everywhere, but have never had them before. I had no idea they just grew wild on the forest floor – how….wild! 😉 Will start looking for them – who can resist a cross between garlic and leeks? Sounds like a perfect addition to cheesy bread!

  2. Mmm… this looks amazing! I now know what I’m adding to my weekend meal plan.

  3. ohhhhh wow, ok, my mind is blown imagining how delicious freshly picked ramps must taste… i mean, they’re still amazing once they’ve gotten to the farmers market but fresh? yes.

  4. This sounds sooo delicious. And your spring pictures are beautiful, specializing in a shade of green extremely rare in West Texas! Clara is adorable.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this the other day only with green onions (no ramps here) and I used a mix of greens including kale, spinach and lettuces. It turned out lovely. I cut the recipe in half and it made exactly 2 cups which was perfect for our lunch. I served it with crunchy croutons. My husband even liked it and that means it is 5 star! I love your fresh, inventive recipes using whole foods ingredients. Please keep those recipes coming!

  6. This looks amazing! You’ve inspired me to go check out my yard to see if I should be so lucky as to have ramps hiding amidst the trees. Even if I can’t find them, I’d love to try making this with garlic scapes, or maybe even just good old garlic.

  7. Holy cow. I need to make this, but maybe with chives instead of ramps. Our chive plants have EXPLODED this past week, and I need to put them to good use!

  8. This looks so incredible! Wishing I could find some ramps around here!

  9. How irresistible does this fabulous loaf look!? Gotta try it soon!!

  10. Love everything about this bread!

  11. Good call on leaving the chores and going out for some sunshine! This bread looks unbelievable!!

  12. Ramps are a spring treasure and that bread looks amazing!

  13. you have managed to completely elevate cheesy pull apart bread to gourmet with the gorgeous foraged ramps! Boy do I wish I could dig into that lovely bread! (by the way the I-phon epicures are great- I would not have known the difference!)

  14. OMG! You re so lucky! I would put ramps on everything if I had an abundance like you

  15. nancy mercier says

    I have not gotten Simple Bites for a long time. I tried to subscribe again and it says I already am. Any ideas as to why it doesn’t come anymore. I miss it.

  16. 5 stars
    I have never had ramps outside of a restaurant dish! Yours look absolutely stunning and fresh. This bread is brilliance.

  17. Beautiful images Aimee!! I need that bread for dinner right now 🙂

  18. 5 stars
    I love all of these seasonal recipe ideas. I would have never thought to put ramps in pull apart bread but I’m so glad you did!!

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