Dave and I spend nearly every Saturday morning walking from our Hell’s Kitchen home to the Union Square Green Market. It has become our ritual. It’s fun to see farmer’s markets from this perspective as for close to ten years we were on the other side of the table selling our own pesto.
This week we were pleased to see ramps, selling for $5 a bunch. The bunch was small with about 6 to 8 slender ramps. If you are not familiar with them, they are available for a few short weeks in early spring. They resemble a baby scallion and have a pungent taste similar to garlic or an onion. Their slender size deceives the strong flavor.
With all the pesto flavors I have created, ramps was not among them. My immediate thought is I must finally make ramp pesto! Returning to the apartment, I go through our cabinets and pull out the accompanying ingredients: walnuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. This was my first time working with ramps, so I experimented with the recipe. It still needs some adjustments, but here’s what I used:
1 bunch of ramps, cleaned, dried, and cut into smaller pieces
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Lemon juice from half of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the first six ingredients in your food processor. Pulse for about five seconds and then slowly pour the extra virgin olive oil in while the food processor is running. Stop and scrape down the sides, then pulse for another three to five seconds. See if the consistency is to your liking. Mine had a slightly gritty texture which was pleasing as each spoonful had several little taste explosions all at once. If not, pulse for a few more seconds and then put in a dish and enjoy!
Later that night, I made a simple ramp pesto vinaigrette. I drizzled it over cauliflower florets which were then roasted in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once they were done, I served them alongside a fresh arugula and radish salad topped with a sliced hard boiled egg and avocado toast.
Another easy snack is to take a few slices of rustic Tuscan toast, spread with ramp pesto and sprinkle some crumbled goat cheese and you’re ready to eat.