Spring is here with great flourish, and we’re celebrating every minute.
It’s been a cold spring, so we’ve had to wait a little longer than we’d like for our early seasonal delights. Wild ramps and fiddleheads are now here in abundance, spring-dug parsnips of course, and the first of the seed-planted radishes and their beautiful tops have hit the farm stands.
Ramps are one of my favorite spring vegetables. A wild garlicky leek with intense aroma and flavor, these greens are always worth the wait, and they are quite nutritious in that spring-craving way. We love them steamed, sautéed, roasted, in soups, salads, main, and side dishes.
I’ll make just about anything green into pesto, and ramps are no exception. A quick, luscious sauce, they are perfect on any pasta, smeared on a crostini, or used as a dip with fresh vegetables.
Let’s not waste and inch of these radishes
Every inch of the radish is edible, yet the tops are one of the most neglected vegetables! Especially when young, they are delightful in a salad, or as a supporting actor in this ramp pesto. Here I’ve used the tops in the pesto and quickly roasted the radishes to sweeten them.
I’ve used a whole wheat orzo in this, but you can substitute any favorite pasta. Our peas are just sprouts right now, so I used thawed frozen peas here. In season, fresh is always best.
Ramp and Radish Top Pesto on Whole Wheat Orzo
- 1 bunch of ramps, about 15
- 1 dozen spring radishes, tops and all
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup Italian pine nuts, toasted
- Zest and juice of one large organic lemon
- 1/3 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Few grates of nutmeg
- 8 oz. whole wheat orzo
- 1 cup peas
Put a pot on to boil for the orzo. Once boiling, it will only take a few minutes to cook.
Scrub the ramps well, trim off any roots, and chop. Pop in the food processor.
Cut the tops off the radishes, chop the greens, and put those in the processor as well. Slice the radishes in halves or quarters, drizzle with olive oil, season, and roast about 10 minutes in a hot oven.
Add the parsley, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest to the processor, and pulse to break up. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and process until smooth but still textured. Taste and correct seasoning to what you like.
Drain pasta and add pesto, how much you like. You’ll have plenty of pesto left over for other uses. Salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with a few more pine nuts, and maybe a few pea shoots from the hopeful garden!
Ramp and Radish Top Pesto Crostini
This is so simple, there really isn’t a recipe. Just smear some of the pesto on little slices of toast, top with a few oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, some olives, and a few more pine nuts for added texture. Delicious!
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