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Spring Ramps: A Flavorful Secret

rampsA sure-fire sign that spring is here is the arrival of the spring ramps, which are also called wild leeks.   These spring delicacies are native to eastern North America and are only in season for a short time.

Ramps have a bulb that resembles that of a scallion, but their wide and flat leaves distinguish them from most of their tasty cousins. As for their personality, a ramp’s flavor and smell can be considered a cross between onions and garlic. And be warned, the garlic odor can be particularly strong.

However, the unique and pungent flavor that may stay with you for a day or two is more than worth it. Ramps are delicious raw or cooked and go perfectly as a substitute for leeks or scallions in such dishes as soups, vegetable sautés, or egg dishes and casseroles.

To clean them, simply cut off the roots, thoroughly rinse them, and remove any dirt from the bulb.

As you would guess for such a unique delicacy, ramps are beginning to show their pretty faces in some of the grocery stores in our neighborhood. Try favorite stops such as True Nature Foods and Urban Orchard for a start.

Since now is the perfect time to dig in an enjoy them, here’s one of my favorite ways to use ramps in your kitchen:

ramp pestoRamp Pesto Dip

Serves 4-6

1 
bunch of ramps

1 handful spinach

1/2
 cup nuts, toasted (I use a combination of almonds, walnuts and/or pine nuts)

1/3 cup olive oil (add more or less to reach your desired consistency)

1/2 
cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese (optional)

sea salt, pepper, a dash of lemon

  1. 1.  Wash and cut off the leaves of the ramps.
  2. 2.  Chop the ramps and nuts just a bit and put them in your food processor.
  3. 3.  Add most of the cheese (save a sprinkle for serving) and a good dash of salt and pepper.
  4. 4.  Pouring the olive oil in slowly, process contents until they combine and reach your desired consistency.
  5. 5.  Taste for seasoning and add a dash of lemon.

Use as a veggie dip, in your favorite pasta or on bread.

You can discover more delicious and nutritious food ideas on Jen Loboda’s Nutritious in the City Facebook Page or follow her on Twitter at @NutritiousCity.


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