Fun with compound butters: Franny’s ramp butter and chili butter.

Ramp Butter and Pancetta Crostinis from Franny's

Ramp Butter and Pancetta Crostinis from Franny’s

Back in December when I was going through my stash of new cookbooks and flagging recipes to make, one of the first that spoke to me immediately was for Franny’s ramp butter and pancetta crostini. After I rued the fact that it was December and that ramp season was still months away, I turned the page and lo and behold the good folks at Franny’s realize that one cannot live on ramp butter alone. An assortment of seasonal compound butters were listed,  including a divine chili butter that is also quite easy to make and an excellent foil for pancetta, even if you are using butter straight out of the freezer.*

After I got my hands on some ramps a few weeks ago, though, I was determined to make the ramp butter. Not only did I want to make the crostinis, but Michael suggested putting pats of it on some butterflied trout and veal porterhouse steaks we had purchased at Stew’s in the place of making a sauce. Kept frozen, the butter would be able to sit for a few months in the freezer, so unlike most of our ramp preparations we’d be able to enjoy it long after the season had ended…provided it lasted that long.

Crostinis with Chili Butter and Fried Quail Eggs

Crostinis with Chili Butter and Fried Quail Eggs

Much like the chili butter, the ramp butter is so easy to make: you cook some of the ramp bulbs and all of the chopped ramp leaves in some butter with crushed red pepper, then combine it with more butter and salt and form it into a big log to freeze. Smear it on anything and everything that benefits from a touch of butter (well, anything savory) and enjoy.

Ramp season is sadly over, so I’m also including the recipe for the chili butter. Not only does it also serve as an excellent foil to pancetta, but it’s also quite tasty on toast with a fried quail egg or two on top, which is a pretty gorgeous and utterly impressive appetizer with which to tempt your guests.

Veal Porterhouse Steaks with Ramp Butter and Arugula Salad

Veal Porterhouse Steaks with Ramp Butter and Arugula Salad

Franny’s Ramp Butter

adapted from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian

Makes about 8oz of butter

  • ½ lb (2 sticks) of butter
  • 20 ramps, well-cleaned, with tops thinly sliced and bulbs chopped and bulbs divided
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper to taste

Melt 6 TBSP of butter into a saucepan, and gently fry half of the ramp bulbs for about 3 minutes. Add the chili flakes and cook until fragrant, and then the ramp tops, saute for another minute, and then remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, add the cooked ramps to either a food processor or work bowl for an immersion blender and combine with the uncooked bulbs and blend until they are combined but they won’t turn into a puree according to the notes in Franny’s.

Fold that mixture in with some salt and the remaining 10 tablespoons of butter into a bowl, then transfer to a piece of cling wrap, shape into a log, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until ready to use or freeze to store up to 3 months.


Franny’s Chili Butter

adapted from Franny’s Simple Seasonal Italian

Makes 8oz of butter

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy chili pepper paste (I use Amore)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 tablespoons of butter at room temperature

In a small saucepan, heat the oil on medium and gently fry the garlic clove until golden; remove, let cool, and then mince. Add the minced  garlic to a bowl with the chili pepper paste, butter, and salt to taste and fold together until the paste has been evenly distributed.

Place the butter on a piece of cling wrap, form into a log, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate until ready to use or freeze to store up to 3 months.

To make the toasts: Cook 3-4 thin slices of pancetta or ¼ lb of lardons in a pan until the fat has been rendered and the pancetta is crispy and golden; drain and set aside until ready to use.

*One way I’ve legitimately warmed up butter from the freezer when time is of the essence is shoving the half-sticks into my sports bra because it’s quite warm in there and the butter has a nice spot to sit. It doesn’t take that long, but your mileage may vary.



  1. I’m certain I could eat about 8 of those quail egg crostinis! In fact, I may email this to the Hubster in case he’s inclined to surprise me with brunch one of these days 🙂

    • Good luck! Hopefully Whole Foods might have some left, but if not, definitely look for them next year.

  2. I love flavor bombs like these. You do a little work in the beginning and they help with different dishes night after night

  3. Brianne said:

    These sound great! I’ve long wanted to make blueberry butter; perhaps this is the summer that I’ll get around to it!

    • Given where you live, I think that is an absolute necessity. 🙂

  4. shannon said:

    compound butters RULE MY UNIVERSE! especially in the summer, when the grill is out, and therefore the grilled bread is out, and…well, you know how it goes. 🙂 i love both of these recipes, and when i get the chance, they’re getting made. thanks, elizabeth!

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