People love to eat flowers. It’s a fact. I was talking to a vendor at a farmers market one time, and he told me that the $4 salad mixes he sold could sell for $8 if he put in a couple edible flowers. Nothing fancy, just nasturtiums or wild radish, things he found around the farm. There is something about eating something so beautiful that draws people in. Consuming beauty, rather than just observing it…maybe too deep, but maybe true. Anyway, no need to pay $8 for this recipe, just find a patch of nasturtiums. The best part about this nasturtium pesto is that you actually use the leaves for the recipe, so you can save the flowers for garnish. Pick leaves that are small and deep green, these have the most intense flavor.
1 cup fresh nasturtium leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A lot of people know that nasturtium flowers are edible; a surprise is that the leaves are too. They are amazingly plentiful, and make a great pesto with a mild nasturtium bite. We made this with fresh gnocchi and wild radish flowers or our last meal, big hit:
1. Pulse the nasturtium leaves in a food processor with an ice cube until well blended (the ice cube helps keep the intense green color. This also works with basil pesto).
2. Add pine nuts and blend. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
3. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, with the food processor running. Stop periodically to scrape the sides. Check for flavor every once in a while. Decide for yourself the consistency you want. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
That's it! Really delicious on Gnocchi or any fresh pasta. Enjoy!