Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Nasturtium Pesto

I promise I will get back to Baby related posts shortly, but I've been trying out some new recipes lately so you'll have to put up with food related posts for a little while longer!

Over the weekend Jeffry and I spent a little time out in the yard enjoying the last bit of warm weather (I'm hoping that if I pretend to be happy it's still warm it will go away faster) and cleaning up around the yard. He tackled the chicken coop while I puttered in the garden and Claire hung out in her walker.

I had planted some Nasturtium seeds in a pot in another part of the yard last year after reading that they were edible, but they didn't do very well and I had forgotten the project. Last fall I dumped out the pot they had been in into one of the barrels on the side of the house and low and behold this year I had a decent number of nasturtium vines growing in places that I certainly hadn't intended them to. Some had even started to grow out from under the house through a screen near the ground. As Jeff and I were pulling them up I suddenly remembered that I had planned to make pesto out of them so instead of throwing them to the chickens, I plucked the leaved and went online to find a recipe.

The recipe I used is pretty much the same as for basil pesto. One difference I noticed is that they tend to leave out the Parmesan cheese and add a little bit of spice such as hot sauce or red chili flakes. I was a little concerned about how it would turn out because basil leave and nasturtium leaves are very different. Nasturtium leaves have a stickiness to them that cling to your fingers afterwards. They are also not crisp leaves that crease and crack if you crumple them, but simple pop back into their original shape unscathed by the rough treatment. I found all these things suspicious and was a little afraid I was about to waste a good amount of olive oil.

I must say I think there are some things I actually liked better about the nasturtium pesto that basil pesto. First of all, it had a brilliant color that seemed to hold up better than basil pesto does, and second, it was a bit spicier than basil pesto. In terms of gardening, I also like  that nasturtiums are very decorative and you can use the flowers in salad. They are also edible and are suppose to have a similar spice to the leaves. After trying this experiment, I'm sad I tore up all my nasturtiums! Next year I will definitely be trying them again, and hopefully I'll get some more rouge ones growing like I did this year.

Nasturtium Pesto
Original Source

4 cups of packed nasturtium leaves
5 cloves of garlic
1.5 cups of olive oil
a generous pinch of chipotle pepper (or your favorite hot pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce)
1 cup of toasted walnuts
salt to taste
2 tsp. lemon juice

1) Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until everything is chopped fine.

I used a pretty generous amount of salt to really bring out the flavor. Toasting your walnuts also isn't a must if you're in a hurry. You can  either store your pesto in the fridge if you plan to use it in the next week or you can freeze it in ice cube trays to use for latter.

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