Monday, June 21, 2010

Beet greens pesto

I'm excited to post this because i hope that it will make me post more in the coming weeks.  I just started getting a CSA and I'm excited to have the challenge of cooking all sorts of great things this summer.
When i picked up my first CSA and it had beets in it- i decided to zip something up quick with the really beautiful looking greens they came with.

Pesto is one of those no recipe, recipes. No one makes it the same, and it can be anything you want it to be, from an easy pasta sauce, to a marinade or even just garnish. Trade out the beet greens for arugula, mint or spinach, or just use all basil. Switch out the type of nut you use, the type of hard cheese or even add some crushed red pepper or curry powder for some spice. These were my measurements, but you don't really need a recipe- just make it taste good to you. The more you make it- the more things you'll think of to put it on! (eggs, pizza and grilled cheese being favorites of mine)

Freeze leftover pesto, or it will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. If you keep your pesto in the fridge, make sure the surface of the pesto is covered well with oil, and replace the oil as needed. Hopefully your pesto will be so delicious- it will be gone before you can start the sniff testing. 

Beet greens pesto. 
the tops from 3 large beets- or approximately 2 cups
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup basil
1/4 cup walnuts- toasted
the juice and the zest of one large lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed.
3/4 cup grated asiago cheese
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil- good quality
salt and pepper

Wash and drain the beet greens. remove any large veins/stems and set aside.
In a large pot, boil water and salt it liberally. add the white vinegar and boil the beet green tops for 3-4 minutes. Shock the beet greens in an ice water bath, and transfer the greens to a salad spinner/dry cloth. Dry the greens well, and chop them into 2 inch pieces.

While the water is boiling, toast your walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat (or in a toaster oven set to "light brown" for approx 2-4 minutes). This may seem like a step you'll want to skip, but I've found that toasting the nuts is essential. The oils come out and the flavors develop much deeper with a light toasting.

In a large blender or food processor, add all ingredients except for, salt, pepper and oil. pulse multiple times and once the mixture is the texture of salsa, start drizzling in the oil slowly so it emulsifies. when the mixture is smooth and glossy, test for salt and pepper, add if needed.

enjoy with a friend, because your garlic dragon breath won't matter that much if you both reek.

1 comment:

  1. Ok thanks for the recipe! I bought a ton of beets at the market today with huge greens and stems and didn't know what else to do with that part but throw it away?! So glad I found this recipe before it was too late!!
    Can't wait to try the pesto!