Pea Shoot Pesto
5.19.11 § 5 Comments
Hi bloggy world! Hi, hi, hi! Sorry, I’m really excited to be writing a post. I’ve missed this! And I know, I know, we JUST covered pesto like two posts ago, but this is different. Really. I promise! First, let me rewind a bit.
This past week and a half, my mom has been visiting me. We decided to hit ‘em up style this trip, so we basically ate our way through my dream restaurant list in the NYC area. My favorite meal by far was up at Blue Hill Stone Barns, where I became absolutely giddy with food-love-joy. Why the giddiness? Because this place is basically the coolest restaurant ever. It’s on a huge farm near Westchester, and before you eat you can walk around and see the greenhouses and the animals, etc. All of the ingredients are locally sourced. You don’t order from a menu; instead, you simply specify five or eight courses for the “farmer’s feast,” which is composed of dishes based on the day’s harvest. (Obviously, we went with eight courses. For the record, that is a lot of food.)
We’re talking homemade ricotta from chef Dan Barber’s family farm, heaped on top of ramp jam, which is smeared on brioche made from red fife grain (which, incidentally, was ground into flour the very same day). Three kinds of butter, each from a single cow in the same herd, all with distinctly different flavors. A selection of greens arranged on a huge palette with smears of homemade yogurt. Oh god, it was like being in heaven. I don’t even remember it all, it was so good I think I blacked out. (That was probably aided by the wine expertly recommended by the sommelier, who was awesome.) One of my very favorites was the pea shoots. They were brought to the table still in the soil in which they were grown with clippers on the plate to snip the shoots off before dipping them in a lemon vinaigrette and eating them. It was just so very, extremely, unbelievably cool.
When my mom accidentally got to spend an extra day in the city due to flight delays, we decided to seize the chance to make a meal at home, which we really hadn’t done the entire time she was here. We ventured to the Union Square Greenmarket where we picked out asparagus, potatoes, and finally, pea shoots! I’m kind of obsessed with them since the Blue Hill Stone Barns experience, and right on the booth was a recipe from the NYT for pork chops with pea shoot pesto, so my little heart was sold. We snagged half a pound of those babies, and after a brief stop at ABC Kitchen to get a snack (the goat cheese, spinach, and herb pizza is divine by the way), we headed home with our bounty.
The meal was amazing. Pan-seared pork chops with pea shoot pesto, creamed potatoes, and asparagus quickly sautéed in butter. So simple and delicious after a week and a half of rich restaurant meals. And now I have pea shoot pesto left over! I’ve been eating it on sandwiches, spreading it over roast chicken, and I hate to admit, occasionally nomming on it by the spoonful straight from my refrigerator.
If you haven’t yet discovered the wonderful ingredient that is pea shoots, I suggest you get on it. And if you live in the NYC area and you haven’t yet eaten at Blue Hill Stone Barns, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and make a reservation. Seriously, do it now…you’ll get a table in approximately two months, and it will totally be worth it. If you don’t live in the area, maybe you should plan a trip around a visit to this restaurant. And invite me, okay?!
Pea Shoot Pesto
adapted from the New York Times
1/2 lb (about 3.5 or 4 cups) of pea shoots
3/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
3 good-sized garlic cloves
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 cup parmesan
salt to taste
Like the last pesto recipe I posted, this one requires lots of chopping unless you have a food processor. However, it’s really easy.
Throw down a handful of pea shoots, then start chopping. When they’re getting small, throw in some pine nuts and chop some more. Throw in part of the garlic and chop. Add some more pea shoots and chop. Next, add pine nuts and chop. Then add your cilantro (or part of it) and some more garlic. Just keep repeating until it’s all chopped up into a chunky, paste-like mixture.
Grate the parmesan over the top and then chop some more to mix it in. Generously sprinkle the whole thing with some sea salt. Transfer all of it to a bowl and stir in a drizzle of olive oil. I think I probably used between one and two tablespoons. Taste it and add more salt if needed.
Basically, add, chop, add, chop until you’ve used everything up. Enjoy!