What do a bunch of perfectly self-respecting ramps get themselves into when they kick back and go on vacation? A bowl of hot, bubbly Ramp Spinach Dip, that’s what.
We are on vacation this week in the rainy, windy Outer Banks of North Carolina. Lucky for us (since we haven’t had the chance to go outside and play much without wearing garbage bags) we brought a houseful of similarly situated friends. Six adults, four little kids, two babies, one dog and — because it’s yours truly here, and what are your thirties for, if not for embracing yours truly — some fugitive ramps and young spinach from our markets in NJ. Who needs to snack on Oreos in the car when there’s the assertive waft of wild leeks to breathe in? Right? Hello?
I bought the ramps and spinach with a pungent pesto in mind. But, after an honest assessment of the crowd,
it became clear that even vegetables — even high-falutin vegetables that demand to be foraged — need to relax and have some fun on vacation. They’re wild, after all, when you think about it. While you may feel a twinge of cognitive dissonance the moment those perfectly innocent veggies become one with the cheesy creaminess, won’t it be worth it to see smiles on those faces? And really, who needs more than that?
Although, here’s hoping for a little bit of sunshine.
For this week, I’ll leave you with that. I’ve got a garbage bag to put on, and a walk to take.
Recipe: Ramp (or Leek) Spinach Dip
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 bunch ramps, sliced (or substitute 2 leeks)
- 1 bunch young spinach, chopped
- 3 sundried tomatoes, minced
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon plus two pinches of salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375° Fahrenheit with a rack in the center.
- Heat the olive oil a wide pan over medium heat. Add the ramps, along with a good pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes, until the whites start to become translucent. Add the chopped spinach, along with another pinch of salt, and sauté until wilted. Let cool slightly, and if there is any excess moisture, drain it. (With the young spinach, I didn’t have any extra.)
- Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, salt and pepper in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Mix or pulse until well combined. Add the Parmigiano cheese, the chopped sundried tomatoes and the ramp-spinach mixture and mix or pulse to incorporate.
- Spread the dip into a medium oven-proof dish and sprinkle with the Pepper Jack cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and browned around the edges and the dip is starting to bubble a bit. Cool slightly and serve with chips or toasts.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12