Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Asparagus Pesto

Welcome back, and thanks a million for checking me out!

Our weather this week has been incredible, and it’s getting me really excited for summer and all the local produce that comes along with it. It’s easy to forget how beautiful it is here in the PNW through the long rainy months, but when it’s warm (87 degrees in May?! Hello, climate change), and we begin to see locally harvested fruits and vegetables that all becomes worthwhile.  It’s still pretty early in the season and most everything is being brought in, but we do have locally grown Asparagus!

Asparagus is one of my all-time favorite foods, and one of the vegetables I actually remember liking as a painfully picky child. Normally, I just trim off the ends, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pop it in the oven until its super crispy and almost burned. Never boil, never steam. I know some people like it that way, but I am perfectly convinced that the reason so many people think they don’t like vegetables is because they have never tried them roasted.

Anyhow, back to the recipe. I didn’t just want to roast asparagus because that’s boring.  Also, you guys are not stupid and could figure out how to do that yourselves. So I got to thinking about a way to use the ingredient raw to preserve the fresh flavor, and immediately thought of a pesto.

So here it goes:.

Megan’s Toasted Walnut and Asparagus Pesto:

·         6-8 Thick Asparagus stalks (if you have very thin asparagus, use about double)
·          ½ cup toasted walnuts (pine nuts are mad expensive!)
·         ½ cup Italian Parsley (for freshness)
·         2 cloves garlic (more or less to taste)
·         ½ cup freshly grated parmesan (I actually used another Italian cheese called Piave Del Tempo that I already had in my fridge)
·         Juice and zest of half a lemon, or more to taste
·         ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
·         Salt and Pepper to taste

1)      Wash Asparagus (duh), and trim the tough ends. I just snap it off, and it usually breaks right where it needs to. Chop asparagus into approximately one inch pieces.

2)      Toast walnuts by placing them in a dry pan on medium heat. Watch them closely, because they burn quickly, and remove when they become fragrant.

3)      Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor. (A stick blender is a nice less expensive option for small jobs like this one.) Scrape down when necessary.

4)      Once all ingredients are incorporated and asparagus is finely minced, drizzle olive oil while pulsing food processor until you have a smooth consistency (adding more than one quarter cup if necessary).

5)      If it looks like this, you’re done! Good job!

This pesto is great on fish, chicken, pasta or incorporated into a salad dressing.

I tried mine out on pasta with crumbled bacon some of that roasted asparagus I was talking about earlier (this pasta can be served hot or cold, and would make excellent leftovers) :

Served right out of the pot so I don't have to do more dishes.

And on a toasted baguette with fresh ricotta:

Garnish with roasted asparagus tips if you have exta.

I hope you guys liked the recipe, and if you decide to make it please let me know how it went!

Thanks for stopping by, and see you next Wednesday.

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