Let the pestos begin

There is a single, perfect rhododendron blossom on the bush outside our front door, and I am thrilled. Early spring blooms have begun in earnest in Seattle, with ornamental cherries, daffodils, crocuses, and lots of things I’ve never seen before sprouting forth hope for a long, hot summer. I know, I know, this doesn’t mean sun is coming to Seattle – but it does mean that the earthy scent of fecundity and warming soil, a springtime smell known collectively in our household as “plant sex,” is in the air.

Unfortunately, the farmer’s market is still really slim pickins. On Sunday I walked away with a whole bunch of dairy products, some potatoes, and a fistful of sorrel. By the time today rolled around, there were little rips in the tips of each of the little sorrel leaves where I’d picked some off to verify that its uniquely lemony flavor was yes, still there.

I made a little batch of pesto, the first in what’s usually a six month-long obsession with grinding herbs and nuts and adding oil and cheese. We slathered it on some local salmon, also from the market, but you could also use it in pasta salads, on chicken, or as a spread on sandwiches.

Salmon with Sorrel-Pistachio Pesto

And by the way, when I sear salmon, I cook it on the first side until the fish is cooked about halfway up the sides of the filets, which lookes like this:

Searing Salmon

Recipe for Sorrel-Pistachio Pesto
Recipe 52 of 365

Sorrel looks like little elongated spinach leaves, only its flavor is much brighter – most people describe it as lemony. Sorrel is actually a member of the buckwheat family.

If you have to buy sorrel in those little 3/4-ounce clamshell packages at the grocery store, you’ll need four of them – but you could also substitute basil, parsley, or cilantro for the sorrel. Pesto is infinitely flexible.

TIME: 10 minutes
MAKES: about 1 cup

1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 ounces fresh sorrel leaves
1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (lightly packed) freshly grated Parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano cheese

In a small food processor, whirl the garlic, pistachios, and salt together until very finely chopped. Add a grinding or two of pepper and the sorrel, and process to make a thick green paste. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, and process again until completely blended.

Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese by hand. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if necessary.

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Filed under farmer's market, recipe, Seattle, side dish, vegetables

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