The RuraList: Ramps Done Three Ways
This week, I’ll be getting ramps in my Berkshire Organics basket, and so begins my annual frenzy of researching recipes for new ways to make the most of these wild, spicy, and slightly mysterious foraged finds. Of course, you can simply roast them, but, to me, that doesn’t give them the special treatment they deserve. I’ve combed through the Rural Intelligence archives, and sure enough, we’ve offered ramp recipes through the years. Here are three of them. Whether in pesto, pizza or pasta, the ramps take center stage, as well they should. Happy ramp season! —Lisa Green
Amy Cotler’s Ramp Pesto
Makes about 2-1/4 cups
2 handfuls local nuts, walnuts or pecans halves or blanched almonds
2-1/2 ounces Parmesan or similar cheese, local if you can get it
2 very generous handfuls of ramp leaves (and some bulbs if you wish)
About 1/3 cup of olive oil
About 1/4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste
1. Toast the nuts in a dry skillet, over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until lightly aromatic. (Bend over them and take a whiff. They should smell toasted.) Don’t go too far, as nuts burn easily. Pulse in a food processor (or use a mortar and pestle) until well chopped but not blended. Set aside.
2. Throw the cheese into the food processor. Pulse until it is finely chopped. (If the cheese is already grated, skip this step.) Add to the nuts.
3. Puree the leaves together with the oil, stopping and scraping down the bowl as necessary to combine. (Work in two batches if you have a small food processor.) Add to the bowl and stir to combine with the salt.
Note: If you forage for ramps in an area where there are ticks, take a shower and throw your clothes in the wash after your harvest. Lyme disease isn’t fun, but ramps are worth a walk in the woods. No ramps near you? Many early farmers markets and highbrow produce stores sell them.
Amy Cotler is the author of The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food.
2 lb. asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
10 ramps or medium scallions
1 thawed pizza dough ball or Berkshire Mountain Bakery crust (available at Guido’s)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 slices prosciutto torn into pieces (optional)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mozzarella cheese
extra virgin olive oil for brushing
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Set a pizza stone or baking sheet on the bottom or on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.
2. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Blanch ramps in the same boiling water until they are bright green, but still al dente, about 1 minute. Drain, pat dry and cut into 1 inch lengths.
3. Punch down the pizza dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to a 12 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle on the grated mozzarella in an even layer. Scatter the blanched asparagus and ramps over the mozzarella and season lightly with salt and pepper. Top the pizza with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
4. Slide the pizza from the peel onto the hot stone or baking pan. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust is browned and crisp on the bottom Transfer the pizza to a work surface, cut into wedges and serve immediately.
1 lb. linguine
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed off and cut into one-inch lengths
1 pint fiddlehead ferns, washed — or substitute with any of the greens listed above
1 bunch ramps, bulbs trimmed, removed from the greens — or try garlic scapes
¼ cup bread crumbs
3 Tbsp. olive oil plus ¼ cup
1/3 cup grated pecorino
salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Pour 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a medium pan and turn to medium-high heat.
3. When the olive oil is shimmering and just about to smoke, add the ramp bulbs.
4. After a couple of minutes, throw in the fiddleheads and asparagus.
5. Boil linguine according the directions on the package.
6. When pasta is done, drain and add to a bowl with the ramp greens (and/or arugula/pea shoots), breadcrumbs, and pecorino. Toss thoroughly and finish with a little more olive oil and salt. Serve immediately.
The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York. The Butcher and the Baker is their collaborative blog.