Freezing herbs is the easiest and fastest way to preserve them. When added at the end of cooking or right before serving, frozen herbs work almost the same as fresh. You can freeze whole, chopped, or pureed herbs. Freeze them in water to make flavored ice cubes for drinks and cocktails. Or freeze them mixed with vegetable oil, butter, or animal fat to use for cooking savory dishes. Frozen herbs retain their taste, smell, and nutritional benefits for up to one year. Since ramps season is so short, freezing is a great way to make this unique ingredient available for longer than a few weeks.
Number one use of ramps puree is for compound butter. Beurre composé, compound butter, hotel butter, cowboy butter are different names for the same type of flavor enhancer. In classic French cuisine, beurre composé is considered a sauce itself and also is used to finish sauces right before serving. In Southern states it is known as cowboy butter, because it is “simple enough for any cowboy to make.” Softened butter is simply mixed or whipped with herbs, spices, and liquids. Reshape it in plastic wrap, refrigerate to solidify, rewrap in parchment paper, and keep in a fridge for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 year.
What is the difference between mixed and whipped compound butter? If your flavoring ingredients are finely chopped, the best way to incorporate them is to mix into a softened butter. No air bubbles go in, and the properties of butter stay the same. If you want your frozen compound butter to melt faster and to slice easier, whip it. To whip it well, you need to puree your flavoring ingredients. For this preparation, fresh herbs need be quickly blanched and ice bathed before being blended into puree. The recipe below is for ramps butter, but the same instructions can be used for making a compound butter with any other herbs.
Make an omelet with ramps puree: Ramps and Bacon Omelet.
Make a sauce with ramps puree for your pasta dishes: Fresh Linguini with Cuttlefish and Ramps Sauce.
Make fresh pasta dough with ramps puree: Into the Woods Lasagna with Morels
Melt ramps butter or oil on blanched vegetables, grilled steaks, fried fish, sautéed shrimp, steamed sweet potatoes, baked Russet potatoes, grilled fresh corn, cooked rice, pasta, grits, in soups… continue?