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Recipe

Ramp Pesto on Toast with Burrata and Peppadews

Evan Sung

Servings: 4 (with leftover pesto)

Garlicky spring ramps (wild leeks) make an insanely delicious pesto, an idea I first learned about from my friend, New York chef Matt Weingarten. Here, I use lightly roasted pistachios and microwave-dehydrated mint instead of the classic pesto duo of pine nuts and basil. Drying herbs in the microwave preserves their fresh flavor and retains more of their essence when compared to oven drying—the mint flavor here is subtle and elegant. With a jar of this pesto in your fridge, you can pretty much transform any “plain” dish into something really special—from scrambled eggs, to pasta, to a simple roast beef sandwich.

Ingredients

For the pesto

  • 30 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 6 oz. ramps, greens separated from the bulbs, roots trimmed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon

For the toast

  • 4 3/4-inch thick slices country-style bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for the bread, plus extra for serving
  • Flaky salt
  • Peppadew peppers, thinly sliced, for serving
  • 8 oz. burrata cheese

Preparation

Make the ramp pesto

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet and roast just until they get a slight gloss on the surface, 4–6 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a medium plate to cool. While the pistachios toast, place the mint leaves in a single layer on a plate and microwave in 15-second increments until they become brittle and dry, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
  • Transfer the ramps to a food processor along with the pecorino, microwave-dried mint, lemon zest, salt, and pistachios and pulse until roughly chopped. With the motor running, begin to drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto is pretty smooth. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add more salt if needed.

Make the toast

  • Drizzle the bread with oil or spread softened butter for toasting under the broiler, or toast in the toaster then butter. To serve, slather a generous amount of the ramp pesto over each toast and top with a few slices of Peppadew peppers and a couple of pieces of burrata. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with more flaky salt.

Tip

If ramp season has passed you by, swap in half a pound of scallions (spring onions).

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