Buttermilk. There’s something about it’s decedent creaminess that makes any recipe in to a masterpiece. I don’t bake with buttermilk often enough since I tend to focus on non-dairy items and make my own soy-buttermilk but in this case, the best choice was to use the real thing! To crank things up a notch, I added wild ramps, also called wild leeks, that I just purchased from Gilt Taste. Man, I love Gilt Taste. Since I don’t have any good farmer’s markets near my home, Gilt Taste has become my very own farmer’s market. Where else can I get fiddleheads, zucchini blossoms and heirloom tomatoes at the drop of a hat? So with my exciting new purchase, this beautiful ramp and buttermilk pepper biscuit was born. I did quite a bit of research online so I wouldn’t misuse the buttermilk and it turns out there are quite a few ramp and buttermilk biscuit recipes out there so I had to make mine special. I changed mine up a bit by adding agave nectar and lots of pepper. The incredible ramp pesto recipe was courtesy of the wonderful Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker and I’m so excited to share it with all of you. And the addition of the smoked salmon was just outrageously good. Would you believe I caught the salmon myself? Oh, and if your on a diet, these biscuits are fantastic! Only 3 points on Weight Watchers.

Ramp and Buttermilk Pepper Biscuit
makes 12 biscuits 

1 cup chopped ramps
3/4 cup chilled buttermilk
3 Tbsp agave nectar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cubed + 1 Tbsp melted to brush on biscuits
3 Tbsp shortening, cubed
fresh cracked black pepper

Ramp Pesto

1/2 cup roughly chopped ramps
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 lemon
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I preheated the oven to 425 degrees F. I washed the ramps and chopped them finely and set aside. Be sure to use the entire ramp, including the bulbs and leaves.

I whisked together the chilled buttermilk and agave in a bowl and set aside.

I mixed together the flour, baking powder, pepper and salt. I added the cubes of butter and shortening and cut it in with a pastry cutter (or two knives) until it looked like sand. Make sure not to cut the mixture too finely since those little pieces of butter and shortening add a lightness to the biscuits while they bake.

I gently stirred in the chopped ramps then made a well in the center of the mixture and poured in the buttermilk.

I very gently mixed the buttermilk in to the flour mixture until a ball was formed, being sure not to over mix. I turned the dough on to a floured surface, floured my hands and very gently folded until no longer sticky and all ingredients were fully incorporated.

I rolled out the dough, using as little force as possible with the floured rolling-pin, to around 1/2 inch thick. You can go thicker if you want for a taller biscuit. Since I wanted mine for the sandwich, I went a little thinner. I cut out biscuits with a 3 inch round cookie cutter.

I placed the dough rounds on a  cookie sheet prepared with vegetable spray. I brushed the tops with melted butter and topped with freshly cracked pepper.

I baked the biscuits for 20 minutes, until a nice golden brown, then placed on a cooling rack.

While the biscuits were cooling, I made the easy pesto. I just combined the ramps, pine nuts, zest and juice of half a lemon, Parmesan, salt and pepper and chopped in my food processor. I slowly drizzled in the olive oil and that’s it! Done.

I also sliced up some beautiful smoked salmon and got it ready for my biscuit sandwich. Okay, so maybe I snacked on a few pieces as I sliced. Smoked wild salmon is just a cut above the rest. Just look at that color!

And then came the best part. Time to assemble and eat! By this point, the biscuits were still warm but much easier to handle. I sliced one in half, spooned some pesto on the bottom half, added some smoked salmon and topped it off with the top half of the biscuit. Oh man!  The biscuit was light and fluffy on the inside with a nice crunch on the surface. The boldness of the freshly cracked pepper was balanced perfectly by the mild onion flavor of the ramps. And the salty ramp pesto and smoked salmon complimented the brightness of the biscuits. Each bite was a little bit of heaven.

 

Ramp and Buttermilk Pepper Biscuits with Ramp Pesto and Smoked Salmon
 
 

makes 12 biscuits
Author:

Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped ramps
  • ¾ cup chilled buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chilled salted butter, cubed + 1 Tbsp melted to brush on biscuits
  • 3 Tbsp shortening, cubed
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • Ramp Pesto:
  • ½ cup roughly chopped ramps
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ½ lemon
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Smoked salmon, for sandwich

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Wash the ramps and chop them finely and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the chilled buttermilk and agave in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, pepper and salt. Add the cubes of butter and shortening and cut it in with a pastry cutter (or two knives) until it looks like sand.
  4. Gently stir in the chopped ramps then make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the buttermilk.
  5. Very gently mix the buttermilk in to the flour mixture until a ball is formed, being sure not to over mix. Turn the dough on to a floured surface, flour your hands and very gently fold until not longer sticky and all ingredients are fully incorporated.
  6. Roll out the dough, using as little force as possible with the floured rolling-pin, to around ½-3/4 inch thick.
  7. Place the dough rounds on a cookie sheet prepared with vegetable spray. Brush the tops with melted butter and top with freshly cracked pepper.
  8. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes, until a nice golden brown, then place on a cooling rack.
  9. For the ramp pesto, combine the ramps, pine nuts, zest and juice of half a lemon, Parmesan, salt and pepper and chop in a food processor. Slowly drizzled in the olive oil and that’s it! Done.
  10. Slice up the smoked salmon.
  11. Assemble your sandwich and eat.