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?