This vibrant green kale, garlic scape, and pistachio pesto is all about simplicity. Wanted to take advantage of the beautiful garlic scapes you find this time of year. I used garlic scapes in this tasty soup the other day, but also had a garlic scape pesto in mind.
Just needed to figure out what else to put in my pesto?
There are any number of greens you can use in pesto — traditionally, basil or, perhaps something a bit less traditional, arugula, parsley, cilantro, chervil, mint, sorrel, spinach, and/or kale to name a few. After that, you need to decide, nuts/seeds or no nuts/seeds? More decisions — pinenuts (traditional) or, perhaps, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds? Toasted versus untoasted nuts/seeds? Cheese or no cheese? Smooth or rustic? Prepared in a food processor or a mano (by hand) with a mortar and pestle?
I guess what I’m getting at is that there are a seemingly limitless number of combinations when it comes to pesto.
Once you have some pesto on hand, it is extremely versatile and can be used in a myriad of dishes. A few ideas…
1. Grilled cheese — with a gooey, melty cheese such as asiago or gruyere — and pesto;
2. Pasta with pesto;
3. Pizza with pesto;
4. Potato salad with pesto (in lieu of mayo).
Other favorite ways to incorporate pesto?
Pesto freezes well (in ice cube trays), so you can make a bunch of pesto when garlic scapes are plentiful, and enjoy it later in the season when scapes are long gone.
I topped some homemade mulitgrain (whole wheat, rye, spelt) sourdough walnut bread with this delicious, verdant pesto. You can find the recipe for the bread here.
While it is a bit of a process, the end result — a hearty, flavorful, rustic bread — is well worth the effort.
Garlic scapes are the edible green stem that shoots up from the hard-neck variety of garlic bulbs, usually in late-May to June. They are cut off so the plant’s energy goes into growing the bulbs instead of the stem and the flowers, which will be dug up in a couple of months. The scapes are tender with a mild garlic flavor.
In addition to garlic scapes, came across some shallot scapes for the first time. Hmm, what to do with shallot scapes?
Kale, Garlic Scape, and Pistachio Pesto
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
4-5 large kale leaves, stem removed, roughly chopped
5-6 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
1 small bunch basil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (depending on desired consistency)
Add the pistachios, kale, garlic scapes, basil, salt and pepper, and pulse until broken down and well combined, but still a bit chunky. Slowly add the olive oil and pulse a few more times until well combined.