On Spring + Ramp Salsa Verde
May 6, 2015
Yo it’s finally SPRING here in NYC. Tax season is over, and the days are getting warmer and longer. There are way more squirrels out and about to antagonize the tiny dog into a panic. There are lots of weary eyed allergy sufferers. There are pink and white tree-flower petals littering the paths in the park. There are people showing their legs again. There is a constant yen for day-drinking. There are big heavy heads of Lilac that smell so good. There are cotton dresses. The yolks of the eggs are becoming more orange than yellow. And, ladies and gents, there are RAMPS.
I think that the food media has given the ramp a bit of a bad rap the past few Springs, based on the fervor with which chefs and farmer’s market go-ers gush about them. A ramp backlash, if you will, because as we know it is not cool to excited about anything. But how can the sight of these green guys not get you excited? The first smell of them is a beautiful oniony beacon of hope! A promise that the bins of last year’s potatoes will soon be replaced with REAL produce each Saturday! A reminder that Winter is over!
So here I am, saying it LOUD saying it PROUD, “I love ramps!” So much so, that I spent Sunday digging them up from the forest floor with some of my favorite ladies. Kate is a lady boss and preservationist at the Westchester Land Trust, and worked it out with a local land owner that we could forage away for the afternoon. Kate led us down the road and down a hill to a HUGE area just totally covered in ramps. It was AMAZING. Kate was good to remind us about sustainable foraging practices: to tread lightly, to take only what we could eat, to move around as to not clear out entire patches, and to avoid the littlest guys.
I really can’t think of a better way to greet the spring with my girls: getting dirty, getting a sunburn on my neck, working at a big ol’ picnic table cleaning our harvest, sitting with one arm around the dog and one arm around the ramps on the ride back into the city. It felt so, so good. I was sore the next morning, tight in my hamstrings from the work of harvesting. I thought about how it amazes me that I used to do this for hours, for a living when I worked on the farm. So grateful to Kate for the outward bound program she’s running for wayward Brooklyn girls that whisks us away in a tiny car to see the outside. (Kate even takes us to Stew Leonard’s for ice cream and every flavor of seltzer if we’re good.)
Soooooooo…I have a lot of ramps now. I carried a bunch to a friend in the park like a bouquet of flowers. (One Down). But I still had really way more than one girl can reasonably eat in a week. So, I got down to processing. I’ve got some ramp pesto in the works, and I roasted chicken with lemon and thyme and all the bulbs leftover from the below recipe. But this, was hands down the BEST use of ramps so far.
Ramp Salsa Verde
This makes about a pint of Salsa Verde. It’s awesome on pretty much anything. I had it on lamb tacos and it was +++. But could see it on beef, drizzled over a sweet potato, mixed into yogurt for a dip, seriously anything. We only use the greens, so save those bulbs for roasting or picklin’ or throw them in the freezer.
1 bunch of ramps (just the greens)
3 limes (zest of 1, juice of 3)
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
2 anchovies (you could def. omit this if you don’t eat fishies)
1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons rosé wine
a good pinch of salt.
I imagine that a mortar and pestle would serve you well on this recipe, but I don’t have one!
So, I just ripped up the ramps and herbs, and put them in the blender with everything but the olive oil. I drizzled in the olive oil as I pulsed and let it sit overnight. I have a sneaking suspicion that this only improves with time.