26 May 2012

Sorrel Pesto - what a pleasant surprise!

Well!  What a pleasant surprise this turned out to be.

We have had a Sorrel plant in our garden for around two years or more now.  Last year, it got terribly broken after it was squashed by a workman's toolbox and then sat on (regularly) by a dog who decided it would make a comfy bed in which to enjoy the sun.

So, before the winter, we uprooted it and put it in a pot and hoped for the best.

This year, it came back with great vigour and was just begging to be used for something.

The obvious use for it would be as a salad leaf, but unfortunately neither son & heir nor I are particularly keen on bitter tasting leaves in our salad.  Our Sorrel, being a species known as Blood Sorrel (because it has dark red veins through the leaves) is particularly bitter, by all accounts.

When we were trying to think of a fairly easy meal for a Monday evening, hubby hit upon using gnocchi with some pesto made from the Sorrel.  What a great idea!  Well, it seemed to be a great idea ...

Hubby set to on the Monday morning and following a serious Sorrel harvest, with much whirring and stirring, made the pesto.

He appeared beside my computer desk here, with an "I'm really not sure about this" look on his face, a bowl of green - very green - pesto and a spoon.

My initial reaction to the flavour was "yeuk!", followed by "salty!", followed by a slightly more positive "oh, I dunno!", rounded off by "garlic!".

I tried again.  Same flow of reactions.

If I could just get past the initial "yeuk!" that was caused by the intensely bitter flavour, followed by the mental message of "hmmn, weeds!", I thought I could get to like it.  However, in quantity, on gnocchi?  No - I had no confidence about that.  Hubby was the same.

So we abandoned the idea of using the pesto on the gnocchi and made a cheese sauce instead.

However, we were determined not to abandon the pesto entirely and left it until the following day - when we tasted it again.  Aaah, it had lost that "weeds" taste, the garlic had mellowed and it was a lot better.

So we bought some filled pasta (gorgonzola and walnut, to be precise - which is my favourite) and had it for lunch - with the pesto.

Do you know, it was very nice indeed.  No, seriously, it was!  We both ate every little bit and following some initial suspicion, enjoyed it.  So there you have the lesson - make the pesto the day before you're going to want to use it!

Now all we've got to do is figure out a use for the other half - or get more pasta on Tuesday!

SORREL PESTO

Ingredients :

50g Sorrel, washed and with the central rib removed (that's 50g ~after~ the ribs have been removed but ~before~ washing)
20g washed and finely chopped parsley
1 crushed garlic clove
30g finely grated Parmesan cheese
100 - 150ml extra virgin olive oil
25g lightly toasted pine nuts
salt and Pepper
1 lemon wedge.

Method :

1.  To a food processor, add the pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan and whizz until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.  Now add the sorrel and the parsley and continue to whizz whilst pouring the olive oil, in a thin stream, into the mix.

2.  Continue adding olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.  This is a matter of personal taste and so more or less oil may be required depending on how you like it.

Note : You will probably need to stop the whizzing periodically to scrape the sides of the whizzing bowl down.  Use this opportunity to check for and adjust seasoning as you go. Remember that Parmesan is salty stuff though so go easy on the salt.  Add a squeeze of lemon during the final whizz, just to lift the flavours a bit, before decanting into a suitable container.

Make the pesto the day before use to allow the flavours to properly develop.  The pesto should keep for about 10 - 15 days in the fridge. 

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10 comments:

  1. Some of the red-veined sorrels can be very acidic so it's very interesting to hear that the flavours mellow with time. Parsley sounds like a good addition, too. In the past I've combined sorrel with radish leaves to tone it down a little. Currently sorrel is threatening to take over most of my neglected herb garden so I think I need to follow your lead.

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    1. I was jolly glad that the flavour did mellow, because it was a no-no up until that happened! lol

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  2. Wow.. Nice and healthy recipe.. Good for health.. I'll copy this recipe for my mom

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    1. I love making things with produce that I've grown, Zolar. It seems even healthier, that way!

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  3. Fabulous :) I like mine with fish too. It's acidity seem to work really well with all types of seafood.

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    1. Aah yes! I can see how it would suit fish very nicely.

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  4. Hi Jenny, hope you are having a nice day. I am now following you on StumbleUpon and just visited all your likes and made sure I was recorded as liking them too. Let me know if you see any jump in page views.

    I am enjoying the extra page views from the Stumbling but have found that people who come via stumbling don't leave comments or follow you. Have you found that too?

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    1. I'll say there was a jump in page views! Overnight, I had a spike of 193 - which is a rare happening. :) I've always found that often it takes a person to visit more than once, before they feel comfortable enough to comment. So give them time, after all, they don't know you yet! :)

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  5. I have been eating sorrel all my life, until I came over to Britain. ;) It is very popular in Poland and grows everywhere like weed! I absolutely love it! I am trying to grow my own this year. Hopefully it will be successful. If so I will have it in a soup with hard boiled egg, or in potato tortilla, or in tart topped with some Italian ham. Pesto is one of my favourites as well. :)

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    1. Aha! I have a sorrel soup recipe just waiting until our sorrel plant has recovered itself a bit and can be harvested again. I like the idea of using it in a tart with ham, too. Good luck with planting and growing your own - it'll be a taste of home for you. :)

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