Spring Foraging with Recipe
Shortly after the kids are born down the road, I venture to another part of my region where I begin my yearly foraging ritual. Ramps are among the teasers of a lush season. They the first wild and foraged ingredient I used when I started cooking and studying food at a professional level. The culinary application on ramps has taken off in the last few years and now ramps are perhaps the hippest of alliums that chefs and other food enthusiasts tinker with. During the months of April through June, every restaurant around spotlights ramps and makes them the star of each dish they are on. Some of the interesting ramp applications I saw last season were ramp spaetzle, pickled ramp (faux) caviar, ramp vichyssoise and ramp kimchee. I know I will be impressed at a handful more this year. For me, I like them done simple- grilled, sautéed or puréed. I grilled some ramps along side some squid at a cookout last year, which caught raves. I took a friend out to pick ramps and stopped by a local farm to pick up some fresh eggs to make fresh pasta with ramp pesto for a simple and satisfying dinner.
What are some creative ways others have seen ramps used?
Next on my foraging calendar (and blogging): fiddlehead ferns, wild watercress, morels, chanterelles, porcini, and more..
A few handfuls of ramp tops (green part)
A few glugs of your finest olive oil
Toasted walnuts, cashews, or almonds (or whatever nut you have)
Juice of a lemon
Several grates of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino
-Puree all in a blender. If too thick, add more olive oil. Season with more salt, lemon, or cheese to taste.
- Cover with olive oil and keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.