Shame on me, ramps season is almost over again, isn’t it? I’m still pretty sad about the fact that I am not living next to that small forest in Göttingen, a small university town in Lower Saxony, anymore. Every spring there was an amazing garlic smell which would lead you directly to a giant ramps carpet. We could pick several bunches and there would still be much more left than anybody could wish for. And I knew exactly when ramps season started and when it ended. These days are over and whenever I see ramps now, it’s in a store. Although you can still pick them if you know the right place, they have also turned into a fancy herb you can buy at organic foods stores for way too much money and in way too small packages. Fortunately I have a wonderful neighbour who’s growing ramps and other herbs in her garden. She just gifted me with a huge bunch of both ramps and chives. If you’re not familiar with ramps (ramsons, wild leek, wild garlic), they have a similarily sharp taste as chives, but mostly they do taste like young garlic. It’s very easy to turn ramps into pesti or sauces. They will make every dish very aromatic and special only by adding a ridiculous amount of flavour. I had several pictures of our fantastic ramps pesto pizza topped with only grilled asparagus. I had to make those pictures fast, hungry people were waiting for me and of course not a single picture had turned out. So I wanted to redo the pesto and take some more pictures. But then I changed my mind and made a chimichurri sauce instead. (I’ll post the pesto recipe at the end of this entry, too.)
Chimichurri is great for tofu, tempeh, or even seitan. But when I made the sauce it turned out I had been too quick with my meal planning. We had no tofu, no tempeh, no seitan. But a head of cauliflower! So here’s a recipe for a wonderful caulflower chimichurri that you can serve over some cooked grains or legumes. It’s also a great addition to a brunch table or a buffet. If you don’t have ramps on hand, you can make this with all kinds of herbs, especially fresh parsley, or use chives and scallions.
Ramps Cauliflower Chimichurri
- 1 small head cauliflower (300 – 400 g)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 50 g 2 oz fresh ramps, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (optional)
- 1/2 jalapeño or red chili pepper (chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets about the size of a golf ball.
- Place on the baking sheet and drizzle or brush with oil.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower starts to brown. Toss from time to time.
- Meanwhile prepare the chimichurri sauce by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
- Pulse until relatively smooth.
- Add salt to taste.
- Pour half of the sauce over the cauliflower and use a spoon to distribute the sauce well. Make sure to cover most of the vegetables in sauce.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve. Pour more sauce over the cauliflower.
Pistachio Ramps Pesto
40 g (1/3 cup) roasted and salted pistachios
30 g (1 oz) ramps
30 g (1 oz) chives
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 glove garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor.
2. Blend until relatively smooth, season with salt and pepper.