Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nettle Pesto!

Spring can be a stinging affair this far north, with temps still in the forties most days (look, the trees aren't even leafed out yet!)...a little wind, a little rain, and yes, a little sun as well! Enough so that my nettle patch, on the western side of my lawn at home, is thriving quite nicely, thank you! It's the perfect time to cut back this itchy nuisance as the ball playing is in full force around here and looking for lost baseballs in a patch of nettles is, well, no fun! It's great that we get to take care of this pesky problem in such a tasty satisfying way! My friends Jenny and Sydney showed me this method...in the past, we've gotten to make many different batches...but this year has been a little challenging to get us all together.
Since I am home today, I think I'll get things started!

I cut about 16 cups of nettles...enough for two batches

Drop 8 cups of the nettles into a large pot of boiling salted water and blanch for two minutes

Squeeze out excess liquid and give them a rough chop...you'll have about three cups

Into your food processor with approximately ( I say this because you can certainly
add more, less or delete altogether any of the proposed ingredients to your liking!)
1/2 cup grated Parmesean
1/2 cup walnuts (I prefer the flavor over pine nuts)
5 garlic cloves-peeled (obviously)
a splash of lemon juice
dash kosher salt
a few turns of the pepper mill
1/2 cup olive oil-the nicest you can afford - drizzle in as processor is running...again you can add more or less depending on how thick you want it!

I like to spoon it into glass jars and pour a little olive oil on top...refrigerate for up to four weeks or freeze in ziplock bags to save for the middle of winter when your dying for a little taste of spring!
This first batch is packaged up and ready to pass out to my friends!


Greears said...

This post is exactly what I love about food blogs and your bakery... inspiration!

Holly O'Leary said...

Oh...we may be too late for nettle pesto but we'll be surely slurping coffee and eating pastries in JUST ONE MONTH! I can't wait to see you all and have you meet Ed! We're both so darn excited we're about to pee our pants!

Holly and Ed in Portland

kayenne said...

hmm... i've always been curious and concerned. re: fresh garlic being stored in oil. i've heard that you're not supposed to store for long periods raw(how about cooked/roasted?) garlic in oil since this may cause botulism? i've always made only small batches of pesto, enough only for the next 2-3 days due to this. same with garlic butters, although lately, i've "cooked" the minced garlic with the butter in hopes of prolonging shelf life.

am i rightly concerned?

nettle pesto looks interesting, though i'm not sure we have it here. you got me thinking of spinach. =D

Anonymous said...

Alana, I love your enthusiasm...it's catchy!
holly, we can't wait to see you, either! It's going to be so fun!
kayenne, you are right when it comes to infused oils, leaving garlic cloves sitting around in a bottle of oil is a bad deal! The pesto has lemon, this helps stabilize by altering the ph level. If I know I won't be using it for a while, I like to freeze it. thanks for your comments!