Let’s talk about Wild Ramps. Let’s RAVE about Wild Ramps. Let’s celebrate that I got my hot, little hands on Wild Ramps for the first time in several years. And I made a pesto. And ate it ALL.
Wild Ramps are known as wild leeks, wild garlic, spring onions, ramps, and wood leeks. They grow in the woods and fields of the eastern United States and Canada, primarily in the mid-Atlantic and northeast. They do NOT grow in Florida. In fact, I have not even been able to buy them here in South Florida. A few years back, I inquired with Whole Foods and they could not get them down here because we were out of region. Since wild ramps only grow for a brief few weeks in the Spring, each year I have a wild ramp craving that goes unanswered. A serious wild ramp craving.
Imagine a cross between garlic and spring onions with a layer of pure wild in the forest flavor. That is a ramp. My first experience with them was with grilled venison and a wild ramp pesto made by a Chef for a tasting. I fell in love immediately.
Until this year! In a shopping excursion to the new Bedner’s Market in east Delray Beach, Florida, they had RAMPS!!!!! I almost hyperventilated in the store. I almost grabbed the basket and ran. I did shout out loud. Shopping is never boring with me, I promise.
The sales people really had no idea what I was babbling about as I tried to find out where these little beauties came from, so I made my purchase and dashed home to lay them out and admire them. I even petted them. Then, came the pesto.
This particular batch of wild ramps was a bit tangier than those I had before. I say this just so you are aware that wild ramps range from sweet to tangy just like onions and leeks. The fresher the ramps, the sweeter their natural flavor. Also, using less garlic may balance older ramps. Let your palate lead the way and taste, adjust, and taste again as you are making the recipe.
I used sliced almonds and an Italian cheese blend in this pesto since that is what I had on hand when making my recent Basil Almond Pesto. You can use the traditional pine nuts or swap in your favorites like walnuts, pecans, or almonds. The almonds give the pesto a milder flavor than pine nuts.
Blend away and then spread the pesto on some warm Italian bread, over pasta, on a sliced chicken or roast beef sandwich, over spiralized zucchini noodles, or like I did – on gnocchi! Use more olive oil for a smoother pesto. Mine is a bit chunky since that is how I like it.
ENJOY! And please share your Wild Ramp sightings below or on Hungry Goddess Facebook!
psssst Marx Foods has a gorgeous Ramp Risotto recipe!
- 2- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted, sliced almonds
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian cheese or a blend (Parmigiana, Romano, Asiago)
- 1 1/2 cups ramp leaves
- Salt to taste
- About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Add all of the ingredients for the pesto EXCEPT the olive oil to your chopper/food processor. Pulse the ingredients until they are married and look crumbly. Begin adding olive oil a bit at a time until your pesto reaches desired consistency. More olive oil equals a smoother pesto. Taste and add salt and/or pepper. Mix pesto with pasta, gnocchi, vegetables, or just smear it on some lovely bread.