Wild Ramp & Parsley Pesto ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wild Ramp & Parsley Pesto

As promised, here is the recipe for the delicious pesto we made with some of the ramps I brought home the other day. You'll like this - it's got a fresh, rampy flavor that screams "SPRING!" And God knows we could use some spring up in this joint -- I practically cried this morning when I saw that there was frikking snow on the ground!

Cleaning the ramps in the sink by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

The thing that makes this pesto so addictive is that the ramps are lightly sautéed before they go into the food processor. This mellows their characteristic garlicky bite (which also prevents you from becoming a social pariah for a full day after eating it) and brings out their sweetness. My husband hit on this method for taking the edge off the garlic in basil pesto a few years ago and we've never looked back.

Making pesto with the ramps by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Parsley adds another note of light, fresh flavor, and pinenuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese add richness to round out the combination.

Ramp parsley in the Cuisinart by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

I served the pesto over pasta with pimenton-crusted, pan-fried salmon. I wished I'd had some asparagus to grill as a side to go with the meal but I'd used up all of my baby-free time for the day hunting for and cleaning the ramps so there was no time for grocery shopping!

Wild ramp pesto and pan-fried salmon by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

If you'd prefer to use walnuts or roasted almonds in place of the pine nuts, feel free. Also, the quantities below are only guidelines - everything is open to interpretation. After all, it's pretty hard to screw up pesto.

Cappellini with wild ramp pesto by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Wild Ramp & Parsley Pesto
Makes roughly 2/3 cup


* A dozen wild leeks, cleaned and prepared
* 1 cup fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and with the stems removed
* 1/2 cup pine nuts, walnuts or roasted almonds
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, Romano or Pecorino cheese
* Olive oil
* Sea salt, to taste
* Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Coarsely chop the ramps, separating the green leaves from the white stems. Add olive oil to a pan over medium heat and add the white parts of the leek stems. After about two minutes, toss in the chopped ramp greens and stir. Sautée the ramps until they are just cooked through, you do not want to brown them.

2. Dump the sautéed ramps, parsley, cheese, and nuts into the bowl of a food processor or blender and add a few glugs of good olive oil. Process the mixture until it's all ground then stop to taste it and add the salt and black pepper to taste. Process again for a few seconds to mix well, then taste again and adjust the flavors as needed -- you can add more nuts, cheese, salt, oil, etc., depending on the flavor and consistency you're going for.

3. If you make enough to have any left over, put in an airtight container in the fridge. I prefer glass to plastic for storage.

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Julia said...

You had snow today?? That is so so sad. I'm sorry. We just have tons and tons of rain. Next week though? 70 degrees!!
Lucky that you found some ramps. Looks great!

Jess said...

what a gorgeous first photo! It's so clean and crisp. I'm gonna do some foraging for ramps soon!!

Eve Fox said...

@Julia, yes, it was very sad. But next week is gonna be better. Peter showed me the general area to look for the ramps - he's always in the know. And I was just talking to my husband this evening about how we need to figure out where to settle so we can plant some asparagus!

@Jess, thank you so much! I think it's my favorite, too. Good luck with your foraging - hope you find a lot.

Anonymous said...

Eve! When you figure out where to settle, I'll give you some rhubarb.