Fresh goat cheese tarts with ramps and lemon zest

May 14, 2010

Food and Style - Fresh goat cheese tarts with ramps and lemon zest

The first time I laid eyes on these colorful wild leeks was in Vermont in the late 1980s. I had just moved there and was getting acquainted with local farmers and discovering local foods. I must say it was love at first sight.

Since then ramps season can never come soon enough for me — and I make sure they are on the menu every week until they vanish.

Now that I live near New York, I have to make a weekly pilgrimage to the Union Square Greenmarket to find my precious ramps. Fortunately, as they become more popular more farmers are growing them. So this year several stalls at the Greenmarket are packed high with perky bunches of ramps.

Although they look dainty, ramps are in fact quite pungent, so a little goes a long way no matter what dish they end up in. My favorite way to cook ramps is to sauté them briefly in a little butter and olive oil until they wilt. Then I toss them with handmade ravioli, add them to soups or risottos, or serve them alongside poached eggs.

But today, my gorgeous bunch found its way into these unbearably light little tarts. The fresh goat cheese and lemon zest pair perfectly with the ramps’ slight garlic flavor to make these tarts an irresistible hors d’oeuvre or appetizer.

Mercifully, ramps season will be around for a couple more weeks. I’ll make sure to have my fill, until I can indulge again… next year.

You can find ramps at your local farmers’ market or online at Melissa’s Produce.

Food and Style - Ramps

Goat Cheese Tarts with Ramps and Lemon Zest

makes 8 tarts or 4 servings
active time: 30 min

For the ramps

  1. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  2. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  3. 2 teaspoons julienned lemon zest
  4. 1 bunch ramps (5 oz) (142gr) – root ends trimmed, stalks and leaves cut on the diagonal in 1/4” slices
  5. sea salt to taste
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the tarts

  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted
  2. 6 sheets fillo dough (10” x 14”)
  3. 6 oz (170gr) fresh goat cheese – crumbled
  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. 1 large jellyroll pan

  1. Step 1: Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter is melted, add the lemon zest and sauté for 1 minute until the lemon zest starts to curl up but doesn’t brown. Add the ramps and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the ramps have released their moisture and the leaves begin to turn dark green. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, quickly toss and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Step 2: Brush jellyroll pan lightly with melted butter. Place one sheet of fillo on a work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Top with another sheet of fillo. Brush the second sheet of fillo with melted butter and continue to stack and lightly butter each sheet until all 6 sheets have been used up. Cut the stacked fillo in 8 equal rectangles and place on the prepared jellyroll pan. Top each fillo rectangle with a little crumbled goat cheese. Top with the sautéed ramps and sprinkle with black pepper.
  3. Cook’s note: The tarts can be prepared to this point up to 12 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  4. Step 3: Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190ºC). Bake tarts for 18 to 20 minutes until edges are golden. Remove from oven and serve warm.

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appetizers, ramps, goat cheese

To peel the lemon zest, use a vegetable hand peeler and make sure to peel the zest without any of the white pith, which is quite bitter. Then slice the zest crosswise in 1/16″ julienne slices.

Cut the ramps on the diagonal (stalks and leaves) in 1/4″ slices.

Fillo dough is quite delicate, so make sure your work surface is very dry, and work quickly. Place one sheet of fillo on a work surface and brush lightly with melted butter.

Top with another sheet of fillo. Brush the second sheet of fillo with melted butter and continue to stack and lightly butter each sheet until all 6 sheets have been used up.

Cut the stacked fillo in 8 equal rectangles and place on the prepared jellyroll pan. Top each fillo rectangle with a little crumbled goat cheese. Top with the sautéed ramps and sprinkle with black pepper.

Here’s another super-easy and mouthwatering spring appetizer: Roasted asparagus with pink grapefruit, pine nuts and lemon infused oil.

© 2011 Viviane Bauquet Farre Food & Style NY LLC

Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Demetra Lambros May 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm

can’t believe I just learned about a new way to use filo from someone (ok, not just someone!) in america while i am living in greece…! thank you!!! Have never seen wild leeks before. they look stunning. will be on the lookout! will definitely try something like this in one of the upcoming “prime weather” weekends (that means entertaining) here in greece. thank you!

Reply

Viviane Bauquet Farre May 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Demetra, You surely made me smile! I love fillo because it gives a super thin and light crust… Let me know how it turns out if you try to make them. Also, you can replace the wild leeks with green onions. Wild leeks grow in very cool climate so I very much doubt you will find them in your beautiful sun-drenched country. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment. I am always grateful…

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Marc Farre May 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm

As Viviane’s Official Food Taster (aka, her husband!), I can attest that these little tarts are just astonishingly delicious!! Go forward and get thee some ramps!

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Shree May 14, 2010 at 6:18 pm

nice! ramps and goat cheese are so yummy together. I love the way you take pics,beautiful movement and very dynamic

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Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } May 15, 2010 at 12:19 pm

A savory tart is one of life’s treasures and the combination you selected is perfect. Can just imagine sitting down with a glass of chilled white sauvignon blanc and enjoying the warm tart. A must try!

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Markus Stolz May 18, 2010 at 10:55 am

Viviane, these look so tempting, if I can’t persuade my wife to do those, I will have to start learning cooking myself! Absolutely stunning!

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Cookin' Canuck May 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Well, you have inspired me to take a trip to our local farmer’s market this weekend to search for ramps. What a fun way to use them!

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Viviane Bauquet Farre May 18, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Lisa, Markus & Dara, Thank you all for your wonderful comments. If these humble little tarts inspire you to look for ramps, sip wine or take up cooking, then I’m as happy as can be!

Bon appétit & cheers

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Daniel@CocinaSavant May 19, 2010 at 7:31 am

these look absolutely delicious. we can rarely find ramps here, but this has just inspired me to look much harder. lovely dish.

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Debi (Table Talk) May 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

I too have an affinity for ramps. Ramp season in West Virginia (our neighboring state) has now passed. Did enjoy them while they were here~I like to whirl them into pesto and spoon over softened goat cheese.
Your tarts sound amazing!

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Lori Lynn at Taste With The Eyes May 19, 2010 at 9:13 am

They sound fabulous! I need to get ramps, fast!
LL

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Suzi April 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

Vivian, these look fantastic. I really wish I could find ramps here in Florida but I have never seen them. What do the leaves taste like, are they sweet or bitter, spicy etc? Beautiful.

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Viviane April 30, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hi Suzi! Ramps are sweet and pungent and with a delicate flavor that is particular to them. No other vegetable tastes this way. They are very delicate and wilt/cook very quickly. You can eat all part of the plant. I do hope you get to taste them one day… they’re very special.

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April April 27, 2012 at 11:03 am

This is the second (and only) time I have seen/heard about ramps. They sound delicious, but I have never seen them before- I’ll have to try some local farmers markets now.

Your tarts are beautiful and the ramps pairs with goat cheese sound divine!

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RavieNomNoms April 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

So lovely! I am sure they taste great! A great treat for the spring!

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Anita at Hungry Couple April 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I didn’t realize you were also in NY. I also just got a bunch of wild ramps and, as it happens, I combined them with goat cheese and made little tarts with my homemade dough. I love the bounty that comes down from the Hudson Valley to the greenmarket!

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Donna Ford May 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Great photo’s and instructions Viviane. It looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

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Leila May 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

Mmm, these are delicious. Made these for a localvore dinner with friends last night and they were a hit. Really quick and easy to make too! Thanks for sharing.

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Viviane May 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

My pleasure Leila… I’m so thrilled you and your friends enjoyed these tarts. Thank you for dropping me a line – you just made my day!

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