Wild leeks, aka ramps – Foraging for local food is always in season

Wild Leeks, (Allium tricoccum) also known locally as ramps, grow wild and fairly abundantly here in our Eastern Ontario woods. It’s a spring delicacy to look forward to each spring, easily harvested before the blackflies arrive, and prized for their culinary value because they’re versatile to cook with, and so very tasty!

Foraging food from the woods is a joy everyone should experience and leeks never disappoint! There are dozens of ways to cook and eat them.  From omelettes to pesto, soups, sandwiches, salads, or even pickled, and that’s just for a start, foodies are coming up with new ways to enjoy leeks all the time.

With that in mind, and after perusing through some food photos on Pinterest, I was intrigued by Hassleback potatoes enough to make them. Thought they’d be the perfect candidate for my leeks harvest, too.

I washed the harvest, chopped them up, squeezed some lemon juice on them and voila.. (see photo!). I stuffed the potatoes, which look like edible accordions, along with the baked chicken thighs, which were also stuffed with mushrooms, goat cheese and the rest of the ramps. Delicious!

If you don’t have access to leeks where you are, I am offering several tasty culinary goodies from my harvest at the store. We’ll have our own hand made, locally sourced and locally created herbal Vinegars and condiments available again this spring, while supplies last,  which offer a taste of these delightful plants.

With regards to the leek pesto I created, silly me forgot to take a photo. In any case, here’s an easy recipe (below) that anyone can do.  It is lovely drizzled all over fresh pasta or spread on some crusty baked bread. Nice as a dip or on salad, too!

The directions are similar to a basil pesto, but with a substitution of leeks. One could experiment and add both!

Ingredients:

  • Dozen leek leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts (roasted)
  • (optional) 1/2 cup of fresh parsley

Combine in blender and mix to a smooth paste. Enjoy!

Happy foraging, but please note: Don’t take more than necessary from the wild. Take a few, but leave most behind. – Thank you!