Before we say goodbye to a very quick spring season here in New York, I urge you to visit your closest farmers’ markets, as it’s your last chance to experiment with seasonal specialties that will very soon be gone.

Union Square Market – One of our Favorites

This past weekend I visited the Union Square market, excited to discover some new local produce that I could test out in my kitchen. Spring produce was abundant all over the market, with asparagus, ramps, fiddleheads, mustard greens and more available at almost every vendor! Since I’ve never cooked with ramps or fiddleheads, I decided those would be my two finds for the week.

Ramp Pesto Recipe         Ramp Pesto Recipe

What are fiddleheads exactly? As a sign at one of the vendors explained, this tender spring spiral comes from the ostrich fern. Named as such because of their resemblance to the curled ornamentation on the end of stringed instrument, such as a violin. They have an earthy and nutty crispiness and work quite well with Japanese cuisine. Wildly enough, certain varieties of fiddleheads are carcinogenic, so make sure to thoroughly wash and cook before consuming. A good boil or steam will do the trick!

The other spring specialty I picked up is Ramps. With a very short season, chefs and cooks go wild over these, incorporating ramps into their menus as much as they can for the short time they’re available. They taste stronger than a leek, which has a mild onion flavor, but have a stronger garlicky taste than a scallion.

Ramp Pesto

For my cooking experiment, I decided to make a ramp pesto and serve it with spiralized zucchini, and rutabaga noodles, roasted asparagus and mushrooms and oila! I had myself a delicious and healthy spring meal.

Ramp Pesto Recipe

Ramp Pesto Recipe

  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 bunch of ramps – root ends trimmed, stalks and leaves cut in 1/4″ slices (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use a microplane grater)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Reggiano Parmesan, sub nutritional yeast for vegan variation
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more for flavor
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat and tbsp of olive oil. As soon as oil is hot, add the ramps. Stir well and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until the ramps are wilted and have turned a shade darker, stirring from time to time. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. Place the sautéed ramps in the bowl of a food processor. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, Parmesan, salt and olive oil and process for about 1 to 2 minutes until the mixture forms a creamy paste, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a container. Use right away, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Ramp Pesto Recipe

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About The Author

Profile photo of Julie
Healthy Eater

Southern girl at heart, minus the fried food. Fresh on the NY food scene, hungry for a healthy way to live in this food capital.