Life is full of changes right now and, fortunately, most of them are good. New dog, new job, and new spring produce like ramps! Over the years, I have struggled to find a recipe that best maximizes the mild oniony flavor of hyper-seasonal ramps, and this pesto does the trick. It extends the ramps’ shelf life and makes it possible to add their flavor to a wide variety of dishes. One of my friends even freezes her ramp pesto in ice cube trays so she has some on hand throughout much of the summer.
To make it, toast 1/2 cup of hazelnuts in a 350° F oven until they smell toasty and look golden. While the nuts toast, give 8 ounces of ramps a good washing. Trim the roots off of the bottoms, roughly chop the ramps, and put them in a food processor.
Add the hazelnuts to the ramps and turn on the food processor. With the food processor running, drizzle in about 1/2 cup of olive oil until the mixture forms a loose paste.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl, and stir in 3-4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, then taste the pesto and season it with salt as needed. Transfer the pesto to jars, and store it in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks, if you don’t use it up before then. You can add a dollop of pesto to soups or stews. Stir it into warm pasta for a delicious sauce. Toss it with raw shrimp before searing for tasty flavor. Spread some inside of a sandwich. Add a bit as a condiment on a cheese plate. Roll them in pesto parmesan palmiers for an easy appetizer. Or…
…make potato pizza! Make or buy pizza dough. Heat your oven as high as it will go (mine goes to 550° F). Very thinly slice a russet potato on a mandoline. Stretch the dough out into a thin crust on a pizza peel, if you’re using a pizza stone in your oven, or on a baking sheet. Spread the dough with some pesto.
Top the pesto with an even layer of potato slices. Top the potato slices with a light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese. Season the whole thing with salt, and throw on some pine nuts (I got so excited that I forgot to add mine).
Bake the pizza for approximately 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender. Slice and enjoy that springy ramp flavor!
- Ramps- 8 ounces
- Hazelnuts- 1/2 cup
- Olive oil- 1/2 cup+
- Parmesan cheese- 3-4 tablespoons, grated