Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nasturtium pesto

I posted ages ago about foraging nasturtiums and mentioned how a recipe or two might be helpful. One of the best uses of nasturtium I've found is making pesto. It's a little different from the familiar basil stuff, spicier finish but welcome anywhere other types are used and it can be substituted in any recipe that calls for pesto.

You will need:

A blender

2 cups (packed) nasturtium leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or toasted sunflower seeds
4 large cloves of garlic or a 1/2 cup (packed) of fresh garlic greens
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Italian hard cheese, Parmesan or Romano work 

Gather enough nasturtium to fill a paper grocery bag most of the way. That'll really only give you about two cups of packed leaves. I don't use the stems and I avoid the larger leaves in favor of more tender and mild tasting small ones. Be sure to wash them well and remove most of the stems. You can throw in some flowers if you like the color or use them for garnish. (The flowers are also slightly less spicy and can soften the flavor if you like.) Once the leaves are washed and dried add them to a blender with the oil, garlic, nuts/seeds and cheese. Blend until the consistency is even and the ingredients are well blended.

It's that simple, tastes great and will keep for a couple weeks or so in the fridge. I made this batch to go with gnocchi, miner's lettuce and roast quail. Looking forward to more.

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