Wild Leek Chimichurri? Yep. I went there. Wild leeks, also known as Ramps, are popping up all along the north east. Where I live, people will soon be covered in mud from hunting them down. This isn’t something you can grow in your garden. Wild leeks need to be foraged, much like fresh morels, and are typically found in wet wooded areas. The season is short however and if you blink, you’ll miss them.
Down a barely used dirt road, there is a patch that I friend and I return to year after year. We head out armed with plastic bags to try and collect what we can, while leaving enough behind so that they repopulate the next year.
If you’ve never had them, they are similar in taste to a scallion or leek. Wild Leeks are pungent in smell and taste and can be used in all sorts of dishes. Saute them and make onion dip, cook them with some bacon and toss it together with some pasta, or simply grill them and enjoy.
I wanted to try something a bit different though. Something that would bring out their flavor without over powering anything that went with it and I also wanted to be able to easily swap them out with regular leeks and maintain the delicious onion flavor. Wild leek chimichurri accomplishes both.
Traditionally, chimichurri is an uncooked ‘sauce’ of sorts, typically made with fresh herbs, a bit of red pepper flakes, some vinegar and olive oil. It is most commonly served with grilled red meats which made it perfect for what I had in mind.
The combination of pungent ramps, grassy parsley, and fruity red wine vinegar paired perfectly paired along side some grilled venison loins.
It is quickly made and the only real work is to chop and cook the ramps slightly before tossing all the ingredients in a blender. This makes short work of everything. While this wild leek chimichurri was able to fulfill it’s destiny along side perfectly grilled venison, it would be just as tasty with your favorite steak or even grilled chicken thighs.
This recipe for wild leek chimichurri is versatile too. Can’t get your hands on Ramps? Check out the notes section of the recipe card for how to swap out the ramps for regular leeks.
As always I would love to know your thoughts on this dish. If you make this dish, let me know! Post your picture to Instagram and tag me @MosesFamilyTable
- 1 large bunch of ramps
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 bunch fresh parsley (about 1 cup of packed leaves)
- 1/4 c red wine vinegar
- 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the ramps well and separate the green leaves from the rest of the ramps. You'll want about 3 cups of the bottoms. Toss the leaves.
- Slice the ramps, and saute in the 1 tbs of olive oil until just soft. This makes them easier to blend and takes a bit of the 'bite' out of them.
- Let them cool for a bit.
- Place the ramps, and the rest of the ingredients in a blender.
- Turn onto high and let it run until everything is pureed into a creamy sauce.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Swap out the ramps for 2 or 3 leeks by slicing the white and light green parts and washing them well. Drain, then use them in the recipe as you would the ramps.