Ramps are wild leeks; baby leeks, whole scallions, or quartered large leeks can be substituted.
- 2 to 3 ramps, roots and greens trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups quick-cooking polenta
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
Spray an 8-inch square pan with vegetable-oil cooking spray. Place ramps in a large bowl of cold water; let stand for 5 minutes to rid them of dirt and sand. Lift ramps out of the water, drain in a colander, and pat them dry with paper towels.
In a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add ramps, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the ramps are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 3 cups water to a boil, and add remaining teaspoon of salt. While constantly whisking the water, add the polenta in a slow, steady stream. Immediately reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Stir in sauteed ramps, 2 tablespoons butter, and cream; adjust seasoning if necessary. Spread polenta in the prepared pan. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to several days.
To serve, turn polenta onto a work surface. Cut into 4 squares; cut each square into 2 triangles. In a large nonstick skillet, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Saute polenta until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels; serve immediately.