Because it freezes so well, pesto is a wonderful way to extend the fresh herb season.
PHOTO: EMILY HELLER
Garlic scapes are the garlicky-but-mild aboveground flower stalks of garlic bulbs that appear briefly each spring. Pea shoots (also called pea greens) are the young leaves of garden peas, and they’re bursting with fresh sweet pea flavor. In this nontraditional pesto recipe, the scapes and shoots take the place of fresh basil leaves and garlic cloves. Use pea shoots and garlic scape pesto as a pasta sauce, sandwich spread, or flavor enhancer for soups and stews.
1/2 pound garlic scapes or pea shoots, or a mixture (if using pea shoots only, add 2 cloves garlic to the recipe)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup unsalted walnuts (You can substitute almost any other kind of nut, but walnuts and pecans are likely to be the freshest choice in spring, as they will have been harvested in the preceding few months. Or choose nuts that were roasted during their peak season.)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Pulse everything in a food processor, adding the ingredients one at a time in the order listed above. Pesto keeps well for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, and freezes beautifully.
Fresh and Local Spring Recipes
Tabitha Alterman is a Senior Associate Editor for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. In spring, she digs making fresh butter, yogurt and cheese with yummy, creamy milk from the cows and goats that thrive on the pastures of the nearby Hudson Valley.