Ramson pesto

Ramslök fält rund

Seriously, this is the best thing I’ve for the whole spring

Call me patheticly romantical when it comes to everything from the fabuolous island of Gotland or maybe it’s just the spring arriving, but the first ramson always eagerly awaited and appreciated.

There are lots of other places in Sweden where you can also pick bags full of wild garlic, but for me Gotland is synonymous with birch groves with an aura of garlic scent.

Just like garlic shoots, they have just the right amount of flavor without being piercing or take over way too much. It makes it easy to combine with a bunch of goodies and I have so far never come across anyone who doesn’t love it.

If you’re like me and love to spend the summer on the fabulous island (since it’s not connected by a bridge it’s like entering a whole new world when stepping off the ferry) you’re definitely come across a ton of different presentations containing ramson. This pesto is a perfect example of how easy it is to create something really tasty using a small amount of ingredients.

For example I used it in this potato salad with tomato, swedish asparagus and some flowers and served with a piece of grilled meat during the traditional Valborg-dinner (Wikipedia can tell you more about that last thing). Also I served it with lamb when I did an appearance at the national TV-channel TV4.

We use it mostly for grilled meats, to dip asparagus in or for the Tuesday pasta. It can be kept at least a week in the refrigerator but probably much much longer – the problem is that we always finish the whole jar in a few days so I do not really know…

– ’But what about the nuts?’ you say. There should always be nuts in a traditional pesto, but I exclude it in my recipe mostly because the six-year-old then accepts it and doesn’t act like a teenager. If there’s only adults around the table I add some toasted hazelnuts when mixing the pesto. Also you can use walnuts and pine nuts. Just make sure to toast them first in a dry pan or in the oven.
– Do not use olive oil, but instead use the neutral canola oil. I buy it cold pressed from a farmer nearby.
– Try to mix in some other herbs for variation. Basil , for example, is an excellent fit with wild garlic .
– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – there are recipes that you should adhere slavishly to but this is not one of those . Vary and experiment with a variant that suits you. When it comes to pesto, there are no limitations.

Ramson pesto

Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

  • Two handfuls of fresh ramson
  • 200 g canola oil
  • 100 g aged cheese (pecorino, parmesan or even better – an aged Swedish cheese made of cream of fjäll cattle)
  • A few drops lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Mix half the oil and wild garlic with a hand blender or in a blender / food processor. Continue mixing for a couple of minutes and make sure to scrape down the sides. This to make sure the pesto gets really green and tasty.
  2. Add the cheese and continue mixing. How rough you want it is a matter of taste, but I like when it’s not perfectly smooth.The consistency  is a matter of taste, but I like when it’s not too and not too runny. Less oil and you’ll have a spread, more oil and more will give you a sauce. I think it is optimal when it is turf green and slightly viscous.
  3.  Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. I really prefer sea salt because it gives a little more uneven distribution of the salt taste.