Ramps are the talk of the town for food lovers in April and May. They’re wild leeks, usually foraged rather than cultivated, have an elegant shape and pack a powerful garlicky, oniony punch. Ramps are among the first produce to arrive at early-season farmers’ markets full of crafts, baked goods and preserves. All of these characteristics — plus a mild hysteria of trendiness — have made ramps a hot commodity over the past few springs. That’s a good thing, because garlic breath requires community buy-in. You need a critical mass to make it okay. And while ramps can be grilled, sautéed, pickled, and so on, you’ll want to try this bright and spicy ramp pesto recipe before you even think about cooking them.
My favorite way to make ramp pesto is to round out both the flavor and the sheer volume of the thing with basil and baby spinach leaves. The spinach also magically keeps the pesto bright green for days and days in the fridge. My favorite way to *eat* ramp pesto is every way you can think of, be it spoon-to-mouth, stirred into a piping hot bowl of spaghetti, or tucked inside a basic omelet.
I’m headed outside to enjoy the rest of the long weekend. Hope you’ll do the same, preferably with pesto.
See you soon.
Ramp Pesto Recipe
This recipe makes a very bright and spicy pesto, so either you'll think a little goes a long way or, if you're like me, you'll have to stop yourself from eating the whole batch straight from the bowl of the food processor. Assuming there's some left, toss it with hot pasta or quinoa, spoon it into a frittata, spread it on toast, dollop it onto fish, chicken or steak -- you get the idea.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 8 ounces ramps
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
HERE’S MORE PESTO FOR YOUR SPOONING PLEASURE: