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She foraged for ramps and made pesto

Posted by Sheryl Julian  April 25, 2012 03:12 PM

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A friend in Western Mass was out the other day and discovered a field of wild ramps. They are also known as wild leeks. The bulbs are white with purple tinge and though many people put them into all kinds of dishes, they are very strong, almost garlicky.

rampscloseup.bmpHere is what Ingrid MacGillis wrote from Western Mass:

"I was just out in the woods behind the house to pick ramps. And voila, 40 minutes later, I have a big bowl of pesto. I make it differently each time, so I can't deliver a fixed recipe, but there are so many online if you want a specific one.

"This time I used pecans (only because I was out of walnuts) and I chopped them separately because I wanted nice chunks, not pecan meal. Then, let's see what cheese I had. There, about 1 cup of Parmesan.

"I tied the big fat bunch of ramps together with a long twisty tie to make the transfer from blanching water to ice water easier, then drained the bunch in a colander, spread the leaves on a kitchen towel, rolled them up, and added them to the cheese in the food processor. Whir, whir, pour in [my daugher] Lucy's olive oil, then transfer the green pulp to the bowl with the chopped nuts, add a bit of salt. Mmmmm.

"All in an hour, including the nice stroll in the woods."

ramp pesto.bmp

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at To discuss your recipes, click here.