toasted pine nuts

Recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto

by Anne Maxfield on June 21, 2012

Is pesto a summer staple for you? Like the flavored vinegars from last week, the Accidental Locavore thinks pesto can be made from a variety of (green) things. Since I had a mess of garlic scapes, thanks to my friend Bill, I thought they’d make a great pesto. This is more about technique (easy) and taste, than precise measurements. Pesto freezes well, but leave the cheese out and mix it in before serving if you’re going to freeze a batch. People often freeze pesto in ice cube trays, then pop the frozen pesto cubes out and put them in a freezer container for individual portions. This makes about 2 cups:

Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients

  • bunch garlic scapes (about 20-mine loosely fit my food processor work bowl )
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions

Step 1
In the work bowl of a food processor add the garlic scapes, pine nuts and Parmesan and process until finely chopped. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil. Keep adding until the pesto is the desired consistency—I like it to be a fairly thick paste. Add the salt, pepper and lemon juice, process until mixed. Taste and check for seasoning.

Accidental Locavore Garlic Scape PestoNotes: if the garlic taste is too strong for you, add some coarsely chopped parsley to tone it down. You can also substitute almonds or walnuts for the pine nuts. Toasting the nuts always brings out their flavor. Besides the traditional basil pesto, a mix of arugula and basil with a bit more lemon juice is delicious.

I’m going to make some fettuccine, sauté some chopped bacon and mix that with the pesto. Shrimp would also work well here. A dollop in a vegetable soup will give it a good kick. My friend Bill who gave me the scapes “used it as a dip for sugar snap peas. Big hit!!! Then used it on pasta. Très magnifique!!!”

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This is an easy salad to prepare and if you don’t feel like firing up the grill, you can use a grill pan in the house. While the eggplant is cooling, make the dressing.

Figure 1 eggplant per person.

  • 4 Japanese eggplants, washed, ends trimmed off and slit lengthwise in half
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts  (feel free to use other nuts if you prefer)
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup basil, thinly sliced (chiffonade)
  • 2 tablespoons mint, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Light a grill, or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the eggplants with some of the olive oil. Grill the eggplants until tender, about 3-4 minutes a side. You can serve the eggplants warm or allow them to come to room temperature…your choice.

Mix the balsamic vinegar, remainder of the olive oil, salt and pepper together and set aside.

To serve, plate the eggplants, top with the goat cheese, pine nuts, basil and mint. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette over it. Serve and enjoy!

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Accidental Locavore Green & Wax BeansThe Accidental Locavore thinks there’s a lot you can do with green beans once they’ve been blanched. It’s a good idea to prepare an ice bath for them before you start. Just fill a big bowl with ice cubes and water.

To blanch the beans, either heat a large pot of water until boiling, add the beans and cook for 4 minutes until crisp-tender, or put them in a covered dish in the microwave for 3 minutes on high. Drain the beans in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove from the ice bath and pat dry. These are all for 1 pound green beans, trimmed (and cut into 1” lengths if you want) and blanched:

Indian Style

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each: cumin seeds, mustard seeds (brown or yellow) and sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the cumin, mustard and sesame seeds. As soon as the seeds start popping (which will be almost immediately) add the beans, stir and lower the heat to medium-low. Add the salt and cayenne and stir for about a minute. Serve and enjoy.

With Grilled Lime

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lime cut in half and grilled for 10 minutes, cut side down
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the beans and cook until warmed through about 4 minutes. Squeeze the lime over the beans and garnish with the sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy.

With Toasted Pine Nuts

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (toast them in the pan before adding the beans, or on a plate in the microwave for a minute…be careful not to burn them)

Heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the beans and pine nuts and cook until warmed through about 4 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

 

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