Monday, June 27, 2011

RECIPE: Dandelion Pesto

This time of year pesto recipes abound, but here's a new twist using dandelion greens. If you find them a bit too bitter, try substituting some of the dandelion for the basil that we get this week to mellow it out.


12 ounces (350g) washed and cleaned dandelion leaves

1 cup (250ml) olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

6 tablespoons (40g) pine nuts, lightly toasted

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 1/2 ounces (70g) Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

1. Put about one-third of the dandelion greens in the food processor or blender with the olive oil and chop for a minute, scraping down the sides. Add the remaining dandelion greens in two batches, until they’re all finely chopped up.

2. Add the garlic cloves, pine nuts, salt, and Parmesan, and process until everything is a smooth puree.

3. Taste, and add more salt if necessary. If it’s too thick, you can thin it with more olive oil or water.

The pesto can be refrigerated in a jar for up to four days. The top may darken, which is normal. You can pour a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent that. It can also be frozen for up to two months.

Ideas for Dandelion Pesto:
-Spread over pizza with cooked potatoes slices, then baked.
-Smeared on crostini over a layer of fresh spreadable cheese.
-Use to dress potato salad.
-Toss with whole wheat pasta with chicken or roasted vegetables. Reserve a bit of the pasta cooking liquid to help smooth the sauce over the hot noodles. (I add a knob of butter, too, which helps smooth it out. Although pesto purists wouldn’t do that.)
-Mix with a salad of farro or wheat berries.

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