Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Use Your Booty: Kale Pesto

This week's CSA pickup included a smallish bunch of kale. I knew when it cooked down it wouldn't be enough for side dish on its own and I already had soup on the menu. So I thought a pesto would be nice thing to try. I found a few kale pesto recipes on the internet and most of them asked for the kale to be boiled for 10 minutes or so to soften and tame it. That seemed like overkill to me so I decided to just do a quick blanch with a boiling water rinse instead.

So, this picture above doesn't really really do this pesto justice. You can eat it on crostini, stir it into pasta (with a few spoonfuls of pasta cooking water) or a fritatta or use it as a sandwich spread or dip (thinned with some yogurt perhaps). Or you can use it in a totally swellegant presentation like that one, over there ---> and dazzle your friends and family.

Kale Pesto
Yields about 1 1/2 cups
You can use other nuts (I think pistachios would be great), but I liked the flavor of the walnuts against the kale. I didn't add any cheese to mine, but if you wanted to enrich this pesto with it, I would add a few tablespoons of grated pecorino romano.

This would probably work with collards too, but I wouldn't use chard or spinach - the leaves are too soft for this treatment.
  • 1 small bunch kale (to yield 4-6 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • handful of walnuts (about 1/4 cup)
  • salt and pepper
  • red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • olive oil
Strip the leaves from the kale stems and them in a colander or large strainer (if the leaves are large you can tear them into smaller pieces so they fit into the colander). Bring a quart of water to a boil. Pour the water over the kale leaves.
You'll see their color turn nice and bright and their volume will diminish a lot.

Press the kale to make sure it's not super soggy - a little moisture is okay. Put the kale into your food processor with the garlic and walnuts (leave out the cheese if you're using any). Pulse to form a paste - you might need to add a little water back in to keep things moving.

When the pesto looks nice and pesto-ish taste it and add salt, pepper and vinegar to taste. You can also add cheese now if you're using any. Give the pesto a glug of olive oil to enrich it a little. Pulse and taste again - the pesto will probably need more salt and acid than you might think.

This Summer, I am chronicling my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) experience. My CSA share is from Arrowhead Farm, a farm based in Newburyport, MA. Each week, I am posting about what was in my share and what I'm doing with it. By way of full disclosure, I won my share through a raffle and am not paying for it. However, Arrowhead did not know I was entered in the raffle, and I received no special consideration because of this blog.

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