Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Asparagus Walnut Pesto and Changing Seasons


Happy Spring! We’ve had a few sunny days in a row and it really feels like spring has arrived. Our plum tree is full of blossoms and pretty buds are popping up out of the ground. Thoughts of baseball season (much anticipated in our house), pink nail polish and spring produce fill my mind.


A fresh season is a time for reflection, a time to pause. Similar to the beginning of a new calendar year, it can be a time for growth and inspiration. I like to think of it as an opportunity to stretch myself (sometimes literally – time for more yoga!) and discover something new.


At times the “something new” is as simple as saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”, as I did when reading the most recent issue of Fine Cooking and saw a recipe for Asparagus Pesto. Brilliant! The first asparagus has arrived here and I just couldn’t resist picking up a green bouquet of fat stalks – not a bad impulse buy considering my other pick was a black salt and burnt sugar caramel chocolate bar.


Nothing celebrates spring like asparagus. This pesto combines raw asparagus with thyme, walnuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese. It is quick to whiz up in the food processor and is full of bright, fresh flavor.


Eggs (another sign of spring) and asparagus marry well. With this in mind, I spread the pastel green pesto on toasted bread (made with my new sourdough starter – I feel like such a proud parent!) and topped the slices with sunny-side up eggs. My son, Isaac, and I happily munched this for lunch together with the sun streaming through the window. A delightful way to welcome spring!

I’m off to try my hand at cultured butter and clotted cream now.

Asparagus Walnut Pesto
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Makes 1 cup

1 large clove garlic
8 ounces asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Drop the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until a thick puree forms, scraping the sides down a couple of times. Taste for salt, pepper and additional lemon juice. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

** This recipe has been linked to the Fresh Produce Tuesday series hosted by 2 Sisters 2 Cities.

18 comments:

  1. Yum- I never thought of making pesto with asparagus. We are actually having an asparagus-themed linky party at 2sisters2cities.com as part of our Fresh Produce Tuesday series. I would love it if you linked up this post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Meaghan! I just linked up - happy to join in. I look forward to checking out the recipes in your Fresh Produce Tuesday series.

      Delete
  2. This sounds so amazing!! Sadly asparagus season is over for us :-/ But I am saving this to try next time around. Can't wait to see your cultured butter and clotted cream...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Katherine! Summer produce must be just around the corner for you. :)

      Delete
  3. Yum! Last week felt like spring here, now the chill is back

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope spring returns quickly for you, Lisa. We are back to rain and chill here now - at least we had a peek at spring!

      Delete
  4. I love this, what a brilliant idea and the picture with the egg made me swoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Suzanne! I can't resist anything topped with an egg.

      Delete
  5. Your, "Why didn't I think of that," is exactly what I was thinking when I read the title of your post. You can make pesto out of anything, but somehow I get stuck in a run of the mill pesto rut. What inspiration. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure, Mikaela! Now I'm pondering all sorts of veggies with pesto potential - spinach, garlic scapes, kale, artichokes...I want to try it all!

      Delete
  6. I love raw asparagus! I wonder what the boys would think of this... Hmmm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pesto is good in sandwiches or with eggs in a bagel - that's how my boys ate it. I hope your boys enjoy it!

      Delete
  7. Yay, you succeeded with your sourdough starter! Asparagus pesto is a great idea, and you've reminded me that it's about time to go see what's happening out in my asparagus bed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, sourdough success! I am delighted. Mmm, fresh asparagus from your garden sounds marvelous.

      Delete
  8. I love asparagus...and that it means spring! Rather than lament the onset of Autumns & Winter here I'll just do spring vicariously through all of you in the Northern Hemisphere! I have never made pesto with asparagus so something new to try next spring!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I recall living vicariously through you last October, Mairi, when I was reading asparagus posts! Now to go back to them for some delicious ideas. :)

      Delete
  9. what a fabulous idea - I love asparagus and pesto so this must be a great combination. The early spears are about to come into season here in the UK and I just can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's exciting to see the spring produce arrive, isn't it? So much to look forward to! It just started to hail here, though - again - so our peeks at spring have been fleeting so far. I'll stay focused on the veggies and fruit that lay ahead!

      Delete