Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kale Pesto. Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables.

This recipe is a winner.  Almost everyone loves kale chips ,right? Well, this recipe is the 2nd best sneaky food trick you can do with kale right next to making kale chips.  I add more garlic and salt to my version of this kale pesto.  I also double the recipe and use 2 bunches of kale. If you are going to dirty your food processor, may as well make some extra, right?  
This amazing recipe is from the farm of one of my favorite farm “characters,”  John Peterson of Angelic Organics.  If you haven’t seen it, you must see the vibrant and hilarious documentary, The Real Dirt on Farmer John.  And also, you should purchase the quirky, down to earth farm cookbook, Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables. Every CSA member or market customer should have one!

Recipe is as follows…from Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables
Kale Pesto

While your Italian grandmother might cringe at this being called a pesto, reassure her that this is just a contemporary spin on that classic dish and you will continue to also make it with basil and pine nuts.  But still, make this dish for her- she will certainly be won over.  This version of pesto is particularly good over roasted potatoes, but it works great over pasta, too.  You can freeze it, but if you do, don’t add the cheese; simply mix it in after the pesto has thawed, when you are ready to serve. Shareholder (adapted from the Seed Savers Calendar, 1998).
Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup                                    chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus
½ teaspoon                        salt, divided
½ pound                              kale coarsely chopped (1 bunch)
2 cloves                                                garlic
½ cup                                    extra virgin olive oil
½ cup                                    freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ½ ounces)
                                                Freshly ground  black pepper

1.        Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  (Be careful not to over toast them, as the will burn very quickly once they are toasted.) Immediately transfer the walnuts to a dish to cool.
2.       Bring two quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, then add the kale.  Cook kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. (I only cooked the kale 5 minutes.)
3.       Put the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until minced.
4.       Add the walnuts and kale; pulse until well combined.  With the blender or food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a stead smooth pencil-thin stream.

5.       When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl.  Stir in the Parmesan, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.  Serve hot or chilled.

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