Hello, my little chickadees! It’s been a while, right? Well, with the exception of my recent cocktail posts. I haven’t done actual food as of late.
Not to make excuses (although this is an excuse), but I think I’m still tired from the Mad Men party last month! I’ve been cooking a lot, but getting back onto the computer once I get from home from work is just the last thing I want to do. Plus, since spring has sprung, I’ve been busy cleaning up my teeny-tiny front yard and planting my veggie containers. And I’ve been going out. A lot. We’ve finally thawed and my social life is coming back like a dormant plant.
Speaking of plants…
I was hanging out with Retrofurn Rick when his neighbor Jim (the hubcap Christmas tree guy) pulled up with a giant pillowcase full of something. Imagine the haul that you used to get on a really, really good Halloween–that’s what this pillowcase looked like. But no, this wasn’t candy, it was RAMPS. For those not familiar with this farmers’ market favorite, the ramp (a.k.a. wild leek or spring onion) is a skinny, little, garlicky-oniony bulb that, this time of year, pops up in wooded areas up and down the Appalachians.
I didn’t know that the ramp was a thing until a few years ago. I kept hearing about them and seeing them on restaurant menus and then I finally got a bunch. Well, I was a bit surprised. Who knew that the famous ramp was just the same spring onions that grew rampant (ha!) up and down the banks of the Connoquenessing Creek would sell for over $15/lb!
I wish I could go back, ransack the place, and sell ’em.
Anyway, when Jim dragged the pillowcase up the stairs and said that it was packed with ramps fresh-picked from West Virginia, my eyes lit up. Those are all ramps??? He sent me home with a produce bag full of 2 pounds of ramps. TWO POUNDS.
Well, what to do with them?
My retro cookbooks don’t tackle the ramp, so I had to turn to the interwebz for some inspiration and I decided to do ramps three ways (that’s how many goddamned ramps I had).
Let’s get to the first one:
- green tops of ramps, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- lemon zest of 1/2 lemon
- fresh lemon juice (about 2 tsp)
- 1/8 cup olive oil
Whizz together the first six ingredients in a food processor while drizzling in the olive oil. Put in resealable sandwich baggies (about 1/4 cup in each). Freeze.
I chose not to put the Parmesan in the food processor. I thought it best to sprinkle the cheese on when served. The saltiness of the cheese is probably what this was missing. As is, the pesto was surprisingly bland for basically being nothing but ramps! Yes, the leaves are a bit milder than the stalks, but still I thought there would be a stronger flavor.
Anyway, one night when I came home from work I was craving pasta (of course my fat ass was craving pasta!) I decided to raid the fridge. Well, I had ramp pesto in the freezer and assorted canned things in the cupboard…
I chose artichokes and hearts of palm. I drained them, sliced the hearts of palm into thick rounds, and halved the artichokes. I salt and peppered them lightly and cooked them on a grill pan that was sprayed with PAM. I also grilled some sliced lemon. I then tossed the cooked pasta in some heated pesto and Parmesan and topped it with the artichokes, hearts of palm, and lemon.
OK, this was delicious. Perhaps one of the best things I have ever just made up on my own. And, since I have the pesto on the ready and canned foods are always in season, I can have this springy dish on demand!
More ramps on the way…