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Ramp Pesto » The Tart Tart

22 Responses

  1. Kathryn May 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm · Reply

    Next year I might just have to make a pilgrimage to the Northeastern states just so I can try some ramps. I’m pretty sure I’d love them – this bright vivid pesto is going to take a long time to get out of my mind.

  2. carey May 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm · Reply

    Yaaaayy!! I totally “squeee”d when I saw the post title in my rss feed! (:

    Aren’t they delicious? And seriously, totally funktastic. I bought a ridiculous amount of them this weekend, and they’re making my vegetable crisper smell pretty funny.

    I had ramp pesto on a sandwich last summer, and it was ridiculously good. I need to try making a batch myself, especially to put all over pizza! (With mushrooms and maybe an egg…omg.) I love the crazy green color of the pesto too. When I make basil pesto I get kind of sad at how quickly it oxidizes and turns that weird murky brown.

    If you have any ramps left over or if you grab another bunch, I also highly recommend caramelizing them. (This is seriously all I do with ramps when I have them. I cannot stop.) I chop off the bulbs and throw them in the pan first, then I usually add some julienned carrots after they’ve been cooking for a bit and are starting to soften slightly. Then I throw the rest of the greens in when the bulbs are starting to brown, and let them cook until they’re wilted. It’s kind of a quick caramelization (is that word?), at least compared to onions. But holy god, the flavor is so delicious. I don’t even understand how or why. They get that sweet caramelized sugar flavor, and it works so perfectly with the salt and the earthy, musky flavor. Oh man, it’s unreal.

  3. angelica | table twenty eight May 7, 2013 at 8:49 pm · Reply

    What stunning photos… I love that gorgeously vivid emerald green against the rustic texture of wood. I makes me wish I we had ramps here in Australia, as I’m seem many posts from fellow food bloggers singing their praises.

  4. Amy May 8, 2013 at 12:12 am · Reply

    Haha! I am a huge contrarian too. I am skeptical of everything, but then I just give in to everything way too late when the trend/fad/movement is almost over. I know there is a tremendous amount of hype surrounding ramps, and I gotta admit, I always thought they MUST be over-rated for how much they’re talked about. Since they’re only grown in the northeast, it looks like I’ll for once get to keep in my contrarian ways this time. }:) With that being said… this pesto looks aweeesome though, and I’d eat it all up with bread or on pasta in a second.

  5. thelittleloaf May 8, 2013 at 2:54 am · Reply

    We don’t get ramps in the UK :-( This pesto looks so seriously delicious and I LOVE the colour!

  6. Stephanie May 8, 2013 at 7:06 am · Reply

    I just picked up some ramps yesterday! And Carey is absolutely right, caramelizing them is THE way to go. I threw them into a gratin a couple years back and they were pretty effing amazing. I’m tempted to do it all over again this year. And Chinese leeks, yes! My dad would use them all the time growing up (I’m Peruvian-Chinese, btw :) and he also mixed them in with scrambled eggs. :-p Must be a traditional way of preparing them? But gosh, when they prepared Chinese leeks you could smell the dang thing for days. They are so strong!

    I love the bright, in-your-face green color this ramp pesto has though! And I also appreciate the walnuts instead of traditional pine nuts. My grandma’s recipe for pesto (a Peruvian style one) also includes walnuts and I have trouble diverting to anything else– love the flavor so much.

  7. Sandy May 14, 2013 at 8:30 am · Reply

    By pure chance I recently stumbled upon a huge patch of ramps in the woods near our house. Not even sure how I recognized them, but I did check my edible plants book. A case of being in right place at the right time, but we are being careful to limit our harvesting (and not disclose this location !).
    The first batch we chopped up and gently wilted with some olive oil, tossed with pasta and grated cheese. Last night I picked a larger batch and we made ramp pesto (with almonds). Unlike chopped basil which quickly darkens, this pesto kept its brilliant green color. Very intense flavor, like garlic on steroids! I put 2 small containers in the freezer, we’ll see if this works because I know garlic gets bitter when frozen.
    After reading these comments, we now want to get one more small batch of leaves (before they fade) to try them carmelized.

  8. Nina Marie May 25, 2013 at 8:05 pm · Reply

    I went picking this weekend and picked a 5 gallon pail packed full. Looked on here and found this wonderful recipe. Love making new stuff with my wild ramps. Thanks so much for the recipe. I did not have walnuts so I browned almonds instead. Really good. Will try again with the walnuts. Time to get canning.

  9. Sarah May 10, 2014 at 2:11 pm · Reply

    Wild leeks, as Canadians in my region of Ontario, refer to them as. They are widely avaliable across Ontario. We are so fortunate to have several acres full of these leafy green beauties. A true spring pleasure.

  10. verplanck May 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm · Reply

    thank you for quantifying this recipe. A “bunch” (as simply states other websites) doesn’t really help.

  11. cynthia June 7, 2014 at 10:59 am · Reply

    Hopped over here from your gnocchi recipe and just had to say — my mom loves scrambled eggs with Chinese leeks too!!! I feel like we grew up in the same household. High-five.

  12. Laura April 17, 2015 at 5:33 pm · Reply

    YIKES!!! Your ramps still have the roots attached. My understanding is that this means they are not sustainably harvested. If we want to enjoy these for decades to come, especially given the hype, we need to make sure we’re harvesting in a way that let’s us do that. Talking with the forager can be a good first step.

    My first forage of the season when sauteed into home made ricotta, smeared on crostini, topped with maple-roasted butternut squash and sprinkled with sunflower seeds. The perfect straddle between winter and spring.

    1. Allen April 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm · Reply

      You cannot harvest an allium of any sort without taking the entire bulb, roots and all. This is true of Allium tricoccum as well. I suppose you could snip off just the green tops, and leave the bulb in the ground, but what would be the culinary fun in that? That bulb is the point, after all. (Though the leaves are delicious, too!)

      Ramps indeed range well into Canada, but are certainly not limited to “namely the northeast.” In fact it’s down south where we enjoy full on festivals dedicated to the celebration of this wild leek. Y’all Yankees are just not figuring out how wonderful they can be.

      If you plant a single ramp bulb, and leave it to grow for some years, it will multiply and spread into quite a nice clump. If you plant many bulbs 6-ish inches apart, the spreading colonies will eventually touch.

      Harvesting bulbs from a large, healthy colony (at least my method) involves carefully and selectively extracting the largest bulbs (roots and all) from an area while leaving surrounding bulbs intact and undisturbed. In this way the clump continues to grow and spread and do what it is meant to do — namely to make me gastronomically happy.

      Now, if I could just get those transplanted morels to do the same thing, all would be perfect.


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