Smoky Mountain ramps are stinky and delicious!
Smoky Mountain Ramp Pesto Recipe. Ramps, allium tricoccum, have been a Smoky Mountain secret delicacy for generations. This delicious bulb and its greens has a punchy flavor that is half garlic, half onion and 100% delicious!
Ramp hunting is an annual ritual for the HeySmokies culinary team in the mountains near the national park. Ramps are found during April and May in our mountains. These plants have become so popular in recent years that many foragers closely guard the location of their favorite patches. For those who would rather not “ramp tramp” through the woods in search of these culinary treasures you can find your fill at the Cosby Ramp Festival.
Ramp bonus tip: The consumption of ramps often leaves those who enjoy them exuding a pungent rampy scent for a few days. Don’t be surprised if people seem to avoid you and definitely don’t expect anyone to want to do any smooching with you until the scent dissipates.
Smoky Mountain Ramp Pesto
Ramp greens are just as delicious as the bulbs!
1/2 cup pine nuts. almonds or walnuts
7 ounces of ramps
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 fresh grated parmesan cheese. We love Parmigianno-Reggiano
1/4 lemon zest
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Toast nuts in a hot skillet three to five minutes until fragrant.
Oven toasting: Place nuts out flat on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake approximately 3-5 minutes until golden and fragrant. Give them a shake after a couple of minutes to prevent burning.
Prep the ramps: Wash ramps and remove all dirt. Trim off and throw away root tips (not the bulbs.) Slice in half and separate the leafy greens from the bulbs. Chop the stems into roughly one inch pieces. Set the stems aside.
Blanch the ramps: Bring a large pot of water to boil and keep a bowl of ice water handy. When the water is boiling, add the chopped green tops. Blanch greens until they are bright green, about 15 – 30- seconds. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to move the greens to the ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and squeeze out excess liquid.
Add ingredients to the food processor: Add the ramps bulbs, greens, nuts, parsley, parmesan, and zest to a food processor. Give it several pulses to chop the mix up nicely. Scrape down the sides of processor as necessary. Add olive oil while running the machine.
Bonus cooking tip: Add more olive oil to thin out the pesto if desired.
This recipe makes approximately one cup of pesto. Bon appetite!