Pesto is one of those kitchen things we find ourselves going back to very often. It is so quick to make and absolutely delicious. We love it swirled up on pasta, mixed in rice or spread over warm bread... We always make our own and, when there isn't much basil - because, to be honest, our basil plants tend to disappear into our plates way too early -, we do it with whatever plant is happily growing in the garden.
That's one of the great things about pesto! You can make it with practically any edible plant you have - broccoli, watercress, mint, nettles, even peppers, the list in endless. The other parts will be olive oil, lots of garlic, any kind of nuts and a bit of good hard cheese. You can play around with these ingredients until finding a mix that pleases you.
Our staple pesto over here is based on mint, sometimes with a hint of basil if the poor plants still has a couple leaves...
Some time ago, though, I stumbled across a recipe from Maegen, based on... Nasturtiums. It got me intrigued, and when I'm intrigued by things I tend to try them. Good heavens!
If you've ever tasted nasturtiums, you know they have a strong and slightly peppery taste, which makes them a wonderful addition to salads - both leaves and flowers! Making pesto out of it is pure genius. I made some small changes on her recipe when preparing it, because you all know I'm crazy about what's local and in season...
- Two handfuls nasturtium leaves
- Crushed hazelnuts
- Chopped garlic
- 4 tbsp good quality olive oil
- Crumbled matured goat cheese (optional)
- Salt, to taste
- Cut the nasturtium leaves really thin - yes, it will take time
- Do the same with your nuts and mix them in
- Drizzle the olive oil on and blend well, adding more if needed
- Add the cheese in if you want
- Stir with salt and pepper and top with some more olive oil if you like
Thank you for the inspiration, Maegen!