Scallion Green + Pea Shoot Pestos

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The spring night is bitterly cold, but still I insist we bike across three neighborhoods, to that new restaurant I want to try, because it is fortifying to leave the house at least once on a Sunday. I have spent all day barefoot and messy in the kitchen, laboring over new recipes, and it feels wonderful to put the responsibility of dinner in someone else’s capable hands.

In the dining room, the wavering light of tiny votives ghost the brick walls and spare wooden tables. We order drinks and sip them and watch the cooks as they pass in front of the wood burning fire, slinging tarte flambée across the hot oven floor, pulling casseroles piled high with gruyere and raclette-laced potato purée.

Across the table, we hold hands and bicker, bicker and then hold hands. We are half joking tonight, half pushing, to find the edges of what is possible to say. We share a whole roast chicken, its heat wilting a nest of watercress and fennel, and a pot of creamy white beans rich with duck confit. We talk about the wedding, and about the week ahead.

At home, we take turns brushing our teeth and filling water glasses. Our evening has been both supremely ordinary and tinged with newness–the promise of a fresh season, the hatching of future plans. I rest my head against the Frenchman’s chest, on the spot where I have rested my head uncountable times before, and tuck my icy feet between his warm ones. I am asleep before he switches off the light.

parsley, basil, and scallion greensparsley, basil, and scallion greens

freshly grated parmesan

I am unbelievably tired of winter. Even though the weather still calls for warming dishes, I needed to post something spring forward here, for my own sanity. On Friday I trained to the Union Square Greenmarket, and left with a bag full of produce, feeling bolstered. I played in the kitchen all weekend. Here is what I did with the greens.

Both of these pestos are welcome additions to a plethora of dishes: the scallion top is a touch oniony and herbal, while the pea shoot is bright and lemony. Both are a snap to pull together, and good in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

scallion green pesto

Use the scallion green pesto as a vinaigrette on a composed salad: I stirred together 2 tablespoons each pesto, olive oil, and champagne vinegar to dress market lettuces, soft boiled eggs, crisp bacon, flash pickled red onions, and roast potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Or, cool down a hot soup, like spicy black bean. Spoon this pesto over steak, improve a BLT, or swipe it on a breakfast sandwich. Yields 1 cup pesto. 

  • ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup (80 grams) chopped scallion tops
  • 1/2 packed cup (5 grams) basil leaves and young stems
  • 1 packed cup (15 grams) parsley
  • the juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup (35 grams) raw pine nuts
  • 1 scant cup (25 grams) freshly grated Parmesan
  • pinch sea salt
  • 10 cracks freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

  • procedure:
  •      Add the scallion greens, the basil, the parsley, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the garlic, the pine nuts, the Parmesan, the salt, and the black pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 20 times, and then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the olive oil is a steady steam, and pulse 30 more times. Adjust the salt and lemon, to taste.

pea shootspea shoots

pea shoots

Stir the pea shoot pesto into an herb-packed risotto, topped with a poached egg. Or, ribbon a serving of scrambled eggs, with a dollop of mascarpone or ricotta. Bring brightness to a sandwich of roast beef, mozzarella, and pickled red onions. Or, once spring actually arrives, serve it over shaved or grilled asparagus. Spoon it on top of fish, shrimp, scallops, or squid. Yields 1 scant cup pesto.

  • ingredients:
  • 1 bunch (70 grams) pea shoots
  • the juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons (12 grams) raw pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup (20 grams) freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 10-15 cracks freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil

  • procedure:
  •      Add the pea shoots, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the garlic, the pine nuts, the Parmesan, the salt, and the black pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 15 times, and then scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add the olive oil is a steady steam, and pulse 30 more times. Adjust the salt and lemon, to taste.

scallion green pesto pea shoot pesto

pea shoot pesto

pea shoot pesto

pea shoot pesto

 

4 Comments

  1. Susan

    Oh yum! This looks fabulous anytime of year! Just feasting my eyes on those photos of green is rejuvenating. Thanks!

  2. Kate is not a celebrity

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m definitely going to give it a go. I do love my food to be bright green!

  3. Mari

    Very sweet post ….as for the pesto – I want to try this with walnuts. Love the idea of using scallions!

  4. Denise | Chez Danisse

    So intrigued by the pea shoot pesto. I adore the taste of peas and it looks delicious.

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