Thursday, April 23, 2015

This is why I cook, aka Ramp and Preserved Meyer Lemon Pesto

As previously discussed, we love pesto in this house.   My kids, do, I do, my extended family and friends do...and with good reason.  Pesto can be made with a myriad of ingredients (e.g. NOT JUST BASIL AND PINE NUTS) and it's good on almost everything.  This version came together out of my love of ramps and preserved citrus.  I had both on hand and wanted to do something fresh and approachable, yet bold and delicious.  Using ramps and preserved citrus eliminates the need for garlic or additional salt, so this comes together in about 5 minutes.

BONUS:  when you make pesto with greens instead of basil, it doesn't tend to turn all nasty and brown.

Ramp and Preserved Meyer Lemon Pesto

1 bunch of ramps, washed and trimmed, stems and roots sliced, leaves cut into ribbons
1 c. walnuts, toasted
3/4 (or 3 segments) of a preserved Meyer lemon (regular preserved lemons would work too)
1 c. salty, hard cheese, grated (I used ricotta salata that I cured, but Parmesan would also be delicious)
1/2 - 3/4 c. good olive oil

I like to make pesto in my food processor, but I suppose you could use whatever you like to use for such things.  Start the blade on the processor, and drop the stems and roots of the ramps through the chute.  Then add the walnuts, letting it run for a minute or so.  Add the preserved lemon and cheese, and then run until everything is really well minced and combined.  Scrape down the bowl and restart the blade.  Pour the oil through the chute until you get the consistency you desire.

Now, spread this on everything, storing any (temporary) leftovers in a jar in the refrigerator.  The pesto should keep about a week, but it never lasts that long in my house.