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Foraging for Ramps in Stowe, Vermontphoto

Ramps are a perennial, early spring wild onion with a strong garlic-like odor. The flavor is pungent and slightly nutty, somewhere between garlic, onion and leek and both the leafy tops and tender bulbs are edible. Other names for ramps are spring onion, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic. Ramps, along with their vegetable friend, the fiddle head fern, are found all across New England and mark the beginning of the spring and summer seasons. Because ramps have such a small growing season, I try to take advantage of this and make a ramp pesto that can last well into the summer.

Ramp Pesto Recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups fresh ramps – bulbs and greens
1 cup good Olive Oil
1/2 Tbs Kosher Salt
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated

Method

Roughly chop greens and bulbs into 1/2 inch pieces on a cutting board, and place in mortar or rough-textured bowl with the kosher salt. With a pestle or wooden spoon, grind the ramp against the surface of the bowl, using the salt's grit to help break down the fibers until they form a somewhat uniform paste.  Sprinkle in pine nuts and crush them into the paste with the mortar. Once they're integrated, drizzle in olive oil, stirring constantly until the desired consistency is achieved. Sprinkle in grated Parmesan cheese to taste.
           

If you plan to make a lot of this pesto you can use a food processer.  Follow all the steps until the end.  Do not add the cheese.  Pour pesto in to freezer bags and freeze.  When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator over night and then stir in the cheese.

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