Fiddleheads, Ramps, and Pesto
Yankee Plus Dec 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Those wonderful harbingers of spring are popping up in gardens and markets, and I’m doing my best to use as much of them all as I can. Fiddleheads have come and gone, but I managed to get my hands on a pound or so.
I wanted to pick them myself and pickle them, but ended up blanching, then sauteing, them with lots of lemon and fruity olive oil. A friend makes martinis and garnishes them with pickled fiddleheads — they’re a great condiment for such a sophisticated yet simple cocktail.
I’ve been getting terrific ramps. If you’ve never had ramps, they’re a special spring onion with strong garlicky-chive flavor notes. Most people find ramps too strong to eat raw — they’re powerful despite their wee size. I’ve been making pesto and pickling them.
Here’s how I make the pesto: I blanch the ramps in salted water, dry them well, then puree them with walnuts and a bit of parsley, lots of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon. I’ve already used up most of it, just tossing the pesto in noodles, but I made sure to freeze a bit, too.
As you can do with regular pesto, just fill a few sections of an ice-cube tray, freeze, and then pop into freezer bags. (I save one tray just for this purpose. No matter how well I scrub, I just can’t get the flavors out of the plastic, and that can really ruin a glass of lemonade.) And don’t forget to label the bag.
Pickled ramps are good, too. I use a lot of coriander seeds in my pickling mix — it calms those ramps right down. I’m open to suggestions for how to use pickled ramps (make a comment on this page), but I’ve found that a simple (olive oil, salt, and pepper) grilled steak with pickled ramps or a few spoonfuls of ramp pesto is an easy and delicious dinner. You could get fancy and tie the pickled ramps in a bow or something.
And if you’d like a new twist on old veggie favorite, try asparagus hummus — it’s ridiculously delicious. We’ve even made a video for you: Making Asparagus Hummus.
Read More: Edie Clark on Fiddleheads, Ramps