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