I love the seasons. I lived in Miami for a short time, and one of the things I missed most about the northeast were the seasons (not to mention the Yankees, Rangers and Knicks, but I digress). In Florida, I would only realize the seasons changed by produce. Here in New York, it’s a bit different. You damn well know when winter is here! Then finally I get an email announcing the availability of RAMPS, and I know spring is here.
Ramps. I love them.
Ramps are an amazing gift from Mother Nature, which is why I used them in Rapunzel’s addictive rampion salad. I think the Brothers Grimm would approve.
Part onion part garlic and often referred to as wild leeks or wild garlic, ramps are one of nature’s spring delicacies. Chefs get excited about using them every spring.
One thing that makes ramps so special is their incredibly short season, and how scarce they become once the season is up. There are only a few vegetables that have such a small window of availability; fava beans are another but more on those in a few weeks. Spring begins and restaurant menus are all scattered with ramps. A couple months in and poof, it’s over as soon as it started.
But right now ramps are plentiful, and you can pick them growing wild if you know where to look. Friends of ours took the pic below showing ramps growing like crazy in England’s Lake District – they said they could smell the ramps before they could see them.
Pickled, flans, grilled, fermented, pestos… I have done more preparations of ramps than I can remember. Yet every year while we’re still recovering from the chill of February, I am thinking of new preparations and dishes where I can showcase ramps.
So as a special springtime bonus, here is a quick and easy recipe for a ramp pesto. I use a blender for this because the ramps, spring onion, and spring garlic tend to be fibrous and stringy. It takes a blender to make the pesto a smooth, appealing consistency.
This pesto can be used in a variety of things. You can use it on pasta, add it to faro, toss potatoes in it for a spring potato salad, or even enjoy it with meat or fish. Use it as a spread for sandwiches. The sky is the limit so make it and have fun. Be creative and use it as a component of a few different dishes.
- 200 g ramps
- 215 g olive oil
- 100 g spring onions
- 50 g spring garlic
- 4 g red pepper flake
- Salt, black pepper and lemon juice to taste
Toss ramps, spring garlic and spring onion in olive oil salt and black pepper.
Grill until charred.
Put ramps, spring veg and red pepper flakes in blender and blend slowly while drizzling in the olive oil.
Once the oil is incorporated session with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.