Shooting for the Sun

Back in the early days of ES, I once ranted about the trend of making every thing on earth into a pesto, thinking that the old-fashioned basil kind could not be beat. However, one of our first ever commenters, John James Anderson, set me right:

After living in Italy for over a year there are about half a dozen pestos out there for sale on the shelves of Roman grocers; all are defined by region. Pesto basically means something that is ground. So, anything can be made into a pesto. The walnut variety of which you wrote typically should be mixed with sun dried tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cheese (piu olio, sale e nero, claro!). Others are made with olives, onions, spinach and ricotta. But, Pesto Genovese (above) will always be king.

OK, fine. I don’t really know anything. I just pretend to be a food snob. And now that we’ve had everything from arugula pesto to nettle pesto on the blog, I’m officially a convert — anything green is better ground up and mixed with cheese, nuts and extra virgin. So when I saw sunflower shoots at the far mar this weekend and bought them on impulse, I knew immediately what I was going to do.


Sunflower Shoot Pesto

With the cost of my beloved pine nuts still inflated enough that they’ll probably be sold at Tiffany’s soon, I decided to pair the sunflower shoots with their more natural brethren, sunflower seeds. The shoots themselves have a somewhat similarly hearty and earthy taste.

1 bunch of sunflower shoots
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Mix it all in an immersion blender of food processor, adding in a few tables of olive oil until you get a creamy consistency, plus S&P. I served mine over angel hair with roasted red pepper and chickpeas.

Anyone else buying sunflower shoots in season? What are you cooking with them? Feed us back?

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One comment

  • TheGourmetCoffeeGuy May 27, 2011  

    Appreciate your insight about the many ways to prepare pestos and serving options. Did not realize there were so many “pestos” and plan to try your recipe this weekend. My family enjoys all the ingredients you list. We like the colorful contrast on the plate when using nuts, roasted peppers and other natural ingredients mixed with rice, pasta, salads. Healthy eating too! Thank you for sharing.

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