Sunday, July 24, 2011
Garlic Scape Pesto
I bet you're wondering what the heck this photo is of. I'll give you some hints. It's garlicky. Very very garlicky.
I bet you're also wondering what I've been doing instead of blogging. That one doesn't need any hints. Sweating, mostly.
Have you given up yet? Maybe this will help.
Yesterday, my freezer was filled, top to bottom, with ice cube trays full of garlic scape pesto and classic basil pesto. I couldn't pass up the huge bags of both that were everywhere yesterday. And even though I've just lived through perhaps the hottest day of my life (I might've spent hotter in Japan, but certainly not at home in Canada), I'm already thinking about winter. There's not much that makes me happier on a dreary November or February night than reaching into the freezer and pulling out something that reminds me of summer farmer's markets overflowing with good green things. When I come home in the dark, even though it's only 5:00, dinner seems so much less daunting when I know that it will be ready in the time I can boil some pasta and toss it with some spinach, a couple of cubes of pesto, and some shavings of cheese. So I'm stocking up on all those good green things (and good sweet things--peaches and cherries will be the next to succumb to the freezer) to see me through the snow. And even better--pesto making doesn't require me turning on the stove. It might be a little cooler today, but not by much.
Pesto, Of Any Sort: A Non-Recipe
Pesto is very forgiving, and very simple, so I can't really call this a recipe. But keep in mind that you can--and I do--make pesto out of just about anything green and full-flavoured: basil, spinach, arugula, garlic scapes, ramps, and baby leeks are all contenders. I also vary the nuts depending on what I've got on hand; use pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and feel free to switch up the oil you use as well. The only requirements for cheese are hard and salty: Asiago, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Romano are all good choices. The only constant is the lemon. I also don't like my pesto as oily as it traditionally is, so I replace much of the olive oil with water. Feel free to play around with the ratio of oil to water to suit your taste.
1 thumb-sized chunk of hard, salty cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1 small handful toasted nuts
1 food-processor bowl full of your green stuff
1-2 tbsp olive oil
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food process. Process until fairly smooth, pouring enough water down the funnel as it processes to keep the blade running, but no more. It should be quite thick. Taste, adjust the seasoning, spoon into ice-cube trays, and freeze until solid. Transfer to freezer bags to store.