Raw Ramp Pesto

Hello again! I am back in Brooklyn, just in time for ramp season. Ramps, a variety of wild garlic that’s only available in early spring, explodes across the NYC food scene every year. And every year I buy a bunch, and every year I am disappointed in the lack of flavor the ramps yield. This past Friday I was at the Union Square Greenmarket and saw ramps on sale for $4 a bunch. I decided to buy them, though I was thinking, “Here we go again.” But then something happened that changed the way I feel about ramps. A customer in front of me, who was not familiar with ramps, was asking the vendor how to prepare them. “You should cook them,” the vendor said. “They’re pretty sharp raw, and cooking mellows them out.” A bell chimed in my head. What if I didn’t cook them? What if leaving them raw was the key to my enjoyment of ramps?
Turns out that was the right way to go. I made a simple pesto, using the raw ramps combined with olive oil, lemon zest, kosher salt, and a little pecorino romano cheese. I just put all of those ingredients into my small food processor and blended them coarsely. Then I tossed the pesto with some freshly cooked brown rice pasta, squeezed a little fresh lemon juice over the top, and sprinkled some more pecorino over the top. The result? The ramps were indeed sharp, almost spicy in the way fresh garlic can be. Balanced out with the saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the lemon the dish was a knockout. So it turns out the secre to cooking with ramps is not to cook them at all.

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One Response to Raw Ramp Pesto

  1. Pingback: My Favorites of 2015 | brooklyn vegetarian

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