Batter Licker

May 25, 2011

green garlic walnut pesto

After stalking green garlic at the market for a couple weeks, I finally approached it with the understanding that, this time, I was taking it home. It didn’t matter that we weren’t familiar with each other, or that I had forgotten to research what others before me had done with this green onion look-alike. I simply knew that I had to experience the younger, milder version of garlic while springtime was still offering it.

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Lest I sound like a garlic pervert, I’ll take this opportunity to explain: I’m quite the garlic lover. I use it in virtually everything, and sometimes slow-cook two entire heads of garlic in butter just because I can’t imagine mashed potatoes without that sweet garlicky flavor.

So you can understand why, once I had my dear friend garlic’s little brother in tow, I interpreted its more delicate flavor as a license to be brazen and feature it in almost raw form.

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I briefly blanched the green garlic, and then blended it with a bit of parmesan, walnuts, lemon juice, and olive oil. I used this green garlic pesto as I would any other pesto, and especially enjoyed mixing it into scrambled eggs and spreading it over chicken and veggies before I roasted them in the oven. I found that the flavor really popped after I let the pesto lounge around the refrigerator for a day, but that didn’t stop me from mixing a fresh batch with a bit of pasta water before tossing the sauce with pasta and spring vegetables.

Green Garlic Walnut Pesto
Makes about 1 c.

To amp up the greens (or if post-blanching, the green garlic is still a bit bold for your taste), add a handful or two of chopped spinach to the initial pulsing in the food processor.

For a vegan version, parmesan can be replaced by using a much smaller amount of salt (add it slowly, and adjust to taste as you blend!).

2 stems of green garlic (young garlic), chopped
1/2 c. parmesan, grated
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 c. olive oil

Blanch green garlic in boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove, and let cool until you can comfortably handle it. Remove and discard roots and a couple inches of the green ends. Roughly chop green garlic (both bulb and green stems).

Pulse green garlic, parmesan and walnuts in food processor until crumbly. Add lemon juice and oil while blending, but stop as soon as the mixture forms a paste. Do ahead: pesto will keep up to 5 days in refrigerated, airtight container.

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