I had the pleasure of foraging through my friend Lisa’s (of Two Pony Gardens) land yesterday in search of the great spring treat: ramps. I found a lot and so I am going to do two thing with them: Pickle and Pesto.
NOTE: Unless ramps are plentiful (as in they are available as far as the eye can see), if you can hold yourself back, just cut the tops. That way the ramps will come back next year. Many ramp populations are being wiped out from professional foragers. If you do harvest the bulb. Make sure to just harvest one bulb per batch, and harvest from every 6th or so batch. Also, be aware that if you order ramps at a restaurant, they could be getting their ramps from dubious sources that destroy the population.
1 lb ramps, cleaned, and greens removed
1 Cup Champagne
1 Cup Cider vinegar
3/4 Cup honey
Sachet: 1 star anise clove, 2 garlic gloves, sprig of thyme, Tablespoon black pepper corns (toasted), Teaspoon fennel seed (toasted).
1 teaspoon salt
Bring ingredients (except ramps) to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook for 5 minutes. Pour hot liquid over the ramps and refrigerate. Once the liquid has cooled, use in salads, as a garnish or as a snack.
The stems of your 1lb of ramps
1/2 Cup olive oil
1 cup toasted nuts (pine nuts, hazel, whatever)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Combine ramps, nuts, lemon and half the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse several times, you may need to open up the processor and maneuver the ramps under the blade. Pulse again, adding the rest of the olive oil to facilitate the blending. Salt to taste.
This is good on a sandwich, served with fish or in pasta.