Classic pesto Genovese recipes contain basil and pinenuts. Other seasonal foods from Seattle farmers markets, such as sorrel and hazelnuts can be used in place of basil and pinenuts to make delicious seasonal pesto. Use in the same ways as pesto Genovese over pasta, with chicken, salmon, and pizza.
Pesto with sorrel and hazelnuts
Makes about ½ cup pesto
2 tablespoons roasted hazelnuts
1 cup packed sorrel* leaves, stemmed, washed, and dried
1 garlic cloves, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
2-3 tablespoons regular or extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Several grinding of black pepper, or to taste
*Use garden sorrel or wood sorrel. Each makes a delicious pesto, garden sorrel is tangy and wood sorrel is lemony.
Make pesto in a mortar and pestle. Grind together the nuts, sorrel leaves and garlic to a uniform mixture. Add 2 tablespoons oil and mix until blended. Season pesto to taste with salt and black pepper. Use pesto in any of the following ways suggested at the end of the recipe.
Make pesto in a food processor. Due to the large size of the bowl, you will need to double (triple or quadruple) the recipe to chop the ingredients effectively. Put the nuts in the bowl first and place the sorrel on top. Pulse (turn on and off rapidly) until nuts and herbs are finely chopped. For the best result, transfer chopped ingredients to a bowl and mix in the oil by hand.
How to store pesto. Transfer pesto to a small bowl. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over the pesto. Refrigerate up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze the pesto without cheese.
How to freeze pesto. Place spoonfuls of pesto on a sheet of parchment or foil, flatten into discs, and place in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to a zipper style bag or glass jar. Freeze up to one month.
How to use pesto. Just like classic pesto Genovese, this sorrel and hazelnut pesto is delicious with pasta, as well as pizza, soups, breads, chicken, salmon, and many other uses.
- Toss pesto with pasta. Toss 2 tablespoons pesto with 2 ounces of pasta until evenly coated. Serve immediately. Use 2-3 ounces pasta per serving for a side dish and 4-6 ounces as a main dish. Parmesan cheese may be mixed into the pesto before tossing, or simply added with the pesto. Other cheeses may be substituted such as feta or goat cheese. Try Ladysmith with Chives from Samish Bay.
- Toss pesto with potatoes. Like pasta, toss 2 tablespoons pesto with each ½ pound roasted or boiled potatoes, with or without cheese. Serve as a supper dish or a side dish for grilled meats.
- Spread pesto on foccaccia. Instead of fresh herbs and garlic, spread pesto on foccacia bread dough before baking.
- Add to egg salad. Mix 2 chopped, hard cooked eggs with 2 tablespoons pesto and enough mayonnaise or yogurt to bind the ingredients to make an egg salad sandwich filling.
- Make pesto butter. Combine equal parts pesto and butter. Use as a topping for grilled steak, chicken or fish.
- Make pesto dip.Stir 2-4 tablespoons (or to taste) pesto into 1 cup yogurt or sour cream and use as a dip for fresh vegetables in season.
- Use as a pizza base. Spread pesto sparingly on pizza crust. Add toppings such as spicy sausage and sweet peppers, diced chicken and summer squash, mushrooms and goat cheese, or ham and onions, to name a few ideas.
- Make pesto sauce. In a small saucepan, combine 1-2 tablespoons pesto with ¼-½ cup liquid (such as hot pasta cooking water, chicken stock, or cream) per serving. Stir over medium heat until blended and hot. Serve pesto sauce over grilled or baked chicken or salmon.
- Stir into soups. Add pesto to this salmon chowder or use pesto to garnish vegetable soups.
Pesto sauce originated in the town of Genoa in northern Italy. Pesto means simply to pound or crush. Many other herbs and nuts, such as sorrel and hazelnuts can be used to make delicious pesto in addition to classic pesto Genovese with basil and pinenuts.