In which I make yet another version of pesto using what’s in season in my own backyard.
It’s been HOT here, not just warm – The other day, Seattle was warmer than Palm Springs, and although we’re across the sound from the Emerald City, it was plenty toasty on our island. When the sun shines here, people drop everything they can to get outside and soak it up. We’re no exception, and our Saturday chore list gave way to a day with our great friends, the Pioneering the Simple Life family. We ended the day with an impromptu grilled dinner party, with our own version of the Aspargus Insalata Piadine that I’d fallen for in my Sunset Magazine. Liesl provided the fresh salad greens and vegetables, homemade salad dressing, and Parmesan; I brought the dough and a jar of this pesto. The recipe called for basil pesto, but we were improvising based on what we had on hand, so I decided to whip up an experimental batch with French sorrel and miner’s lettuce, since those are the two greens I have left from my winter garden. They’re both about to go to seed, so I’m scrambling to use them up before they’re gone.
This is hardly even a recipe; there’s no need to measure anything, and the flavor can be adjusted as to your own palate as you go along. This has the lemony brightness of sorrel, tamed a bit by the miner’s lettuce and further deepened with olive oil, almonds, garlic, and salt; Parmesan is optional, but a lovely addition
French Sorrel & Miner’s Lettuce Pesto
- Food processor
- Mason jar for storage
- One large bunch of fresh French Sorrel leaves, enough to fill your food processor to the top.
- One large bunch of fresh miner’s lettuce (buds, flowers, and stems are also fine), enough to fill your food processor to the top. You can substitute spinach or kale if you don’t have any miner’s lettuce.
- 2-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 – 1 cup whole raw almonds or the nut/seed of your choice
- olive oil, the best you’ve got
- sea salt
- Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they’re finely chopped but not yet dust or butter.
- Add the sorrel and garlic and pulse until there’s enough room to add all of the miner’s lettuce. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed to help the greens break down.
- Add the miner’s lettuce and top the leaves with a good drizzle of olive oil (at least 2 Tablespoons). Pulse again until all the leaves and nuts are combined into a green paste. Stir if necessary to help the miner’s lettuce blend with the sorrel.
- With the food processor running, drizzle in more olive oil until the pesto has the consistency you like.
- Add sea salt and grated parmesan to taste. I start with 2 teaspoons of salt and adjust from there. Skip the Parmesan if you’re going to be freezing the pesto for storage (add the cheese when you’re ready to eat it, after the pesto has thawed), or skip it entirely if you’re dairy-free.
- Spoon the finished pesto into a clean Mason jar (or any other jar you’d like to reuse) and store it in the fridge. This is lovely on “Grilled Salad Pizza” as well as all of the other usual suspects (pasta, rice, eggs, potatoes, sandwiches, soup, etc).
Do you have a favorite non-basil pesto? I’m always looking for new combinations…