How to make nasturtium pesto October 09, 2017 14:17
Nasturtiums have been running amok in the veg patch all summer. Perfect companion plants to our runner beans and cabbage, they have literally been having a knees up for months. However, the party is very nearly over. The lights are up, the music is off and it's time to call it a day.
Night time temperatures have started to dip significantly in recent weeks. Most of the butterflies, bees and caterpillars seem to have taken the hint. Having munched away on our nasturtiums all simmer, they've moved on. And so, finally, it's our turn. We've now got lots of tender new shoots and leaves which I'm quickly harvesting before the first frosts appear. Perfect for pesto.
The recipe given below for home made nasturtium pesto is a little variation on the classic basil pesto. I can safely say that neither Martha Stewart or Mary Berry have anything to worry about with me. But, I am really keen on the whole 'fork to fork' mentality of cooking and eating seasonal, local food. Earlier this summer, while we were camping in North Wales, I'd been told about nasturtium pesto by a Welsh-Italian management consultant. Serious stuff, I thought. If someone of Italian descent felt this was a pesto worth making, it had to be good...
- Nasturtium leaves: 150g. (I was tempted to use the juicy stems, but the aforementioned Welsh /Italian Consultant looked absolutely horrified when I asked. So, I opted for leaves only.)
- Parmesan: 150 g
- Pine nuts: 150 g
- Garlic: four / five cloves
- Olive oil: approximately 200ml
- Prepare a jam jar or preserve jar by washing thoroughly and placing into a hot oven to sterilise.
- Wash the nasturtium leaves and pop into a blender with the pine nuts and garlic. Slowly add the olive and blend until you create a nice thick paste.
- Now slowly add in the parmesan. At this point I needed a little more oil and added pepper into the mix. I avoided using salt, just because I felt there would be quite a lot already in the cheese, but if you fancy adding a little more, now is the time to do it.
- Pour your gorgeous new pesto into your sterilised jar. Once in situ, add in more olive oil to 'seal' the pesto. This should help it to 'keep' for up to one month in the fridge.
- Watch your young child's face light up as they scream 'Eeeeew, what is that?!' while you explain that 'that' is dinner :)
I have to say, while the kids looked appalled at the sight of the lush green mixture, the end result is pretty tasty. It is a little more peppery or bitter than your sweet tasting basil variety. It is great for giving roasted veg a bit more oomph, lovely when mixed up as a base for home made pizzas and is a tasty addition to pasta. I'd also use it to make home made garlic bread. Plus, you do get to enjoy that slightly smug feeling having cooked something you've grown yourself. Domestic goddess, ticked.