So tonight we're eating weeds for dinner, not because we have to, but because we can. On my way home from work tonight, I pulled a big bag of garlic mustard pesto, getting the roots when I could since it is, after all an invasive weed which crowds out native plants like trilliums, jack in the pulpits, blood roots, probably trout lilies and violets too. Basically, it kills the biodiversity in the under story of deciduous forests. But enough about my environmental politics.
Originally, I planned to make Wild Man Steve Brill's garlic mustard pesto www.wildmanstevebrill.co
As I thought about his recipe, I realized that I didn't want to pay for a cup's worth of basil and that instead I could get great local spinach from our CSA farmers at the Westside Community Market and I realized the miso that I have is red which may or may not be the mellow miso Brill asks for. I also thought that olives were kind of weird as a pesto ingredient, that I didn't want to use so much miso because of the salt content, that he used a heck of a lot of olive oil, too great a ratio of nuts to green stuff and that I wanted to use some parmesan cheese in my pasta. I consulted a couple of my cookbooks for other pesto recipes. I also rearranged the order of additions to the food processor to minimize bruising of the greens.
Here is what I came up with:
1/2 c. walnuts
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
4 garlic mustard tap roots, chopped
pinch of salt
Put the first four ingredients in a food processor and grind into a paste.
Add 2 T of miso and whir the food processor until combined
Then add as they fit:
1 c. garlic mustard leaves
1 c. spinach
1/2-3/4 c flat leaf parsley
process until well-mixed.
Then add 3 T olive oil, more if needed
Then add 1/2 c. parmesan cheese and mix.
Add pepper to taste and adjust salt if needed.
The paste was very flavorful on its own. It possibly could have used a little more salt the way we ate it over whole wheat bow ties with grilled shrimp and extra chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan for garnish. We both thought it was pretty tasty.
This made enough for our dinner tonight, one leftover serving for someone's lunch tomorrow and an ice-cube tray which I will freeze overnight and put in a zip-top bag. Even though I barely made a dent in the garlic mustard along the bike path, I still went a little crazy and have a good bit of what I picked in the fridge. I might actually buy the basil now, use pine nuts instead of walnuts, up the miso a bit and freeze another couple of ice-cube tray's worth of pesto.