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Ramps season is in early spring. The flavor is similar to onions, particularly like scallions, but wilder. They can be used just like scallions. In Appalachia, they are so popular that festivals are dedicated to them. They've been a staple of Southern Appalachian cooking for generations. If ramps are unavailable, feel free to sub regular leeks or scallions.
- Cut the greens off of the ramps.
- Dice the bulbs into ¼-inch pieces.
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water next to the stove. Drop the greens into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Lift the greens out of the water with a strainer and plunge them immediately into the ice water. Drain and squeeze dry. If they are still moist, roll them up into a kitchen towel and twist the ends tightly to squeeze out all of the excess moisture.
- Coarsely chop the greens and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add the ramp bulbs, ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
- Stir together and cook until the bulbs are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Place the ramp greens and bulbs in the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse a few times to chop them together, then process continuously for 1 minute.
- Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Process for 1 more minutes, or until the ramp mixture is very finely chopped.
- Add the pine nuts, Parmesan, remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and lemon juice and process until smooth.
- Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or lemon juice as needed.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.