We went to the Greenmarket and they (finally!) had ramp. I bought 4 bunches. The first recipe we made with this new bounty (our first to come back to) was ramp pesto. The original recipe came from epicurious, where it was paired with salmon. We found blackfish (aka tautog) at the Greenmarket that looked meaty and irresistibly delicious. It only came in double the portion we wanted, but we still couldn’t say no…hopefully we’ll enjoy the leftovers. The fish was described as firm and very flavorful, and somewhat sweet, so we hoped it would stand up well to our tangy ramp pesto. As for the 4 bunches of ramp, we decided to turn it all to pesto for some leftovers for later in the year and to be sure to not let any go bad!
Ramp, for anyone unfamiliar (as I was one year ago), is a spring commodity that’s basically the most delicious combination of garlic, leeks, and green onions. It has a strong, pungent, garlic flavor, but also a distinct freshness. I was introduced to it last year while reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle and was lucky enough to still be early enough in the spring to find some at the Greenmarket and give it a try…and since that first bite a year ago, I have been waiting patiently (and recently not so patiently) for it to appear again. It’s finally time!
We followed the recipe as directed, though using slivered almonds and various Parmesan-type cheeses instead of the Asiago. We used 4 bunches of ramp (no idea how much that was in absolute terms, but it was a lot). We estimated this was 2-3x the recipe (1 1/2 C or more of chopped bulbs and stems). The pesto was blended in the food processor and though we tried to tweak the flavors early on, it was only tasty after the oil was added and the flavors blended together.
We prepared the fish based off a recipe we found that wouldn’t take an hour to cook (most that we found for blackfish, though they sounded delicious). We prepared the filets with salt and pepper and added the largest to the oil/butter first. Then they were all flipped, and the thin ones removed from the pan after a few minutes. I added ~1 C white wine (have we shared the great tip we learned from cea to store leftover white wine in the freezer to be used just for occasions like this?) to deglaze the pan and then added back the thin filets. Since I wanted to make sure the thick ones cooked through, I replaced the cover and let them simmer on low until the rest of the food was prepared. The thin ones still could have used less heat/time, but the thick ones came out absolutely perfect!
We made up a pot of linguini and tossed it with some of the pesto (much less than we made total) and a little of the pasta water. This was served alongside the blackfish, with a bit of ramp pesto for the fish. I enjoyed the pairing of the ramp pesto with the fish that I even had to sneak a bit more. Happily, we have enough to enjoy for a few days, and enough frozen pesto to remind us of the deliciousness of ramp anytime of the year!