50 Ramps, cleaned and leaves and stems separated but leaving about 10 whole
1 Teaspoon of Chili Flake
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups of Dry White Wine
1/4-1/2 Cup of Olive Oil
30 Ramp Greens, blanched and shocked in ice water
Optional: a squeeze of lime juice or 1 Calabrian chili pepper with a teaspoon of the juice its packed in.
1 Cup of Breadcrumbs
15 Ramp leaves chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon
5 Whole Ramps
To clean the ramps, peel back any of the slimy layers around the stem and cut off the root end. Then soak to wash, they are wild so they’re gonna be pretty dirty, drain and dry. A salad spinner is good to have for stuff like this. Then take about 70% of the whole ramps and separate the leaves from the stems and then leave the rest whole.
To make the ramp puree, take 80% of the ramp leaves you have and blanch them in salty water and then immediately plunge into an ice bath to shock them. Then squeeze out the water and add to a blender with about 1/4 cup of oil, puree, salt to taste and I added some Calabrian chili with the juice it’s packed in. The more oil you add the thinner it will be so keep that in mind. Some lemon juice would also be nice. Now you gotta a nice puree you can do a lot of things with. Once off which is straining through a fine coffee filter to make some ramp oil.
Now for the breadcrumbs, take the remaining ramp leaves and stack them on top of each other as you would for a chiffonade, but we are just going to slice it in half down the middle and then finely dice.
Next slice 1-2 garlic cloves thinly, and dice the ramp stems
To clean the clams, add them to a bowl of water and then add some salt. Just let those sit for a few minutes and then scrub the clams and drain the gritty water and then rinse clean.
To make the breadcrumbs, add a pan on medium heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil and once hot, add the finely diced ramps, cook for 30 seconds to a minute and then add a couple of handfuls of bread crumbs. Cook until the breadcrumbs are nicely browned, then kill the heat, zest in some lemon zest, and then let it cool on a plate with some paper towel and season with some salt and set it aside for later.
Next, I want to char the ramps under the broiler. Take the whole ramps and drizzle just enough olive oil to coat the ramps and season with some salt and pop those right under the broiler. I want to get some nice char flavor and color so make sure you get them close to the flame. This should replicate a grilled ramp indoors. Once charred, set it aside for later.
Now get the pot of water you blanched the ramps in for the puree back on the heat along with a large pan with a lid to steam the clams with.
Once the water is boiling, you can get the sauce started. Get that pan on medium to medium-high heat and add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic, give the garlic a little head start, then add the diced ramps along with the chili flake. Next to the stove get a bowl with a strainer over it along with another bowl for the shucked. Cook until you start to see a little caramelization going. Then add the clams. Give the clams a stir and then kill the heat and add a cup or two of the wine and then put the lid on, then turn the heat back on but drop it down to medium-low. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the clams start to open. They won’t all open at the same time but when you see one open, take it out and add it to the strainer to cool, Cover back on and let the rest steam, and just keep pulling them as they cook so we don’t overcook them and make them tough. Then as the cook, shut the clam meat out of the shell to all but the clams you are going to use for plating and garnish. I leave the clams whole but you could chop them.
Now the water should be boiling, make sure there’s enough salt in the water and then start cooking the pasta and reducing the sauce. This pasta cooks for about 9-10 minutes so I’m going to pull it at 7-8 minutes and finish cooking the pasta Ain the sauce so it’s perfectly cooked.
At around 7-8 minutes, give the pasta a taste, it should be pliable but still too al dente, and then start to add the pasta to the sauce, reserving the pasta water to use as needed. The pasta is absorbing the sauce but is still too al dente so just add a bit of pasta water, shaking and stirring and tossing the pasta to emulsifying the sauce and you do that until the pasta is perfectly al dente to your liking and the sauce is thick and creamy. Then kill the heat, add the clam meat and the charred ramps and the ramp puree and toss to combine. Plate it immediately.
To plate it, get a nice tong full and get the strands to hand and then use a large ladle to swirl it into a nice mound and then on to the plate. Then some of the clam meat, followed by some spoonfuls of the sauce, 3-4 whole clams, the ramp breadcrumbs, one of the charred ramps on top tells you what the star of the dish is followed by the ramp oil.