My 'Three-pointed Leek' Pesto Recipe
This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since march, so excuse the out of season info!
March is a bit of a waiting game when it comes to gardening. The cold and dark of winter is showing an end, but its not quite warm enough to start planting seeds - for me, at least, with no greenhouse to grow them.
So we sit and stare out of the window, checking weather reports and dashing out between showers to potter about for the brief moments we get, mulching the more hardy winter veg and pulling out the bits and pieces that have finished, counting down to the end of the month, where 'daylight savings' gives us that extra hour of light in the evenings, and the weather turns a corner into spring. (Plus, Gardeners world comes back on the telly!)
Just because we can't garden, however, doesnt mean we cant forage.
March is the perfect time to pick three-cornered leek. Available in abundance for just six short weeks in green spaces near water, it can be found all over the little corner of the world I live in - Sussex. Get it just before it flowers and its nutty and sweet, that garlic flavour not so intense. Wait until it flowers and the leaves go bitter, but the flowers add a great spicey hit to a salad or a soup. My sister-in-law has a garden full of it, and digs it up in great bunches like weeds - which is why I developed this pesto receipe - it's the perfect way to keep that gorgeous garlicky flavour to use in the many months it's no longer available.
You will need the following:
A large bunch of three-cornered leek, cleaned and prepped. (about 800g)
A block of parmesan cheese
half a cup of pine nuts
1/3 cup of walnuts
1/4 cup of almonds
note: you can use any mix of nuts you choose. I like almonds because they make the pesto creamy, and walnuts as they bulk up the pesto without costing a fortune (I would use all pine nuts but they are expensive!) Find what suits you best with trial and error - there is no wrong way to do it!
I also added a bunch of basil as I happened to have it to hand. Again, you can use any fresh herb you have!
The steps are simple. Wizz up the three-cornered leek in a food processor, adding a teaspoon of salt to help grind it up. Cut up your parmesan, and chuck it in, wizzing that up too.
You can cut up the parmesan much smaller than this - or grate it - to make it easier on your processor. Mine handles it fine so I don't bother.
Next, throw in the nuts and the basil, and wizz it up again. You will end up with something like this:
Keep blending until it's as fine as you like your pesto.
Next, get out some good olive oil. I use Filippo Berio EVOO as I like the flavour, but anything will work really!
Turn the processor on and add the oil in a steady drizzle until it reaches the consistancy you like. For this batch, I used less and created a slightly thicker pesto, as I've found the thinner type I like in pasta is less versatile for other stuff (and bulkier to store!) Making it slightly thicker means you can use it to stuff chicken etc without the oil leaking all over the place and making a mess.
At this stage, I like to throw in a good handful of whole pine nuts for a bit of texture.
Then, its time to store it! I added this batch to a handful of small jars to give out as gifts or keep in the cupboard for those nights where a quick pasta dish is all you feel like cooking - and chucked the rest into a larger jar which I can store in the fridge.
Add a drop of oil to seal it into the jar, and you're good to go! this pesto will keep for months in the right environment.
Thats's it! Spring-time in a jar!
Have your own three-pointed leek recipes? I'd love to see them!