Do you like nasturtiums? I LOVE nasturtiums. They are one of my favourite plants. I love the way they grow all over things and the way their flowers are so bright and colorful. I love the peppery taste of the leaves and flowers, and that you can eat every part of the plant. I love the fact that they have such an unlikely-seeming botanical name… NOT Nasturtium officinale as any sensible person might think, but Tropaeoleum majus (N. officinale is actually watercress! Go figure. But at least I can remember it).
I planted quite a lot of nasturtium seeds in one of my garden beds a few months ago, not expecting them to do much as it’s in an area that gets almost no sun in the dark half of the year. Naturally, every single one germinated and the bed is now a riot of nasturtium leaves, some almost the size of plates (although no flowers have appeared as yet). They are so rampant they are even overshadowing my horseradish and I needed to do something to cut them back a bit. But there’s only so many leaves that I can put in a salad… Salads which I am pretty much the only person in the household to eat… And then I came across a solution: nasturtium pesto
I made a few alterations to the original recipe (I didn’t have any walnuts), and I can vouch for its deliciousness. So here’s my take on it:
2 cups (tightly packed) freshly washed nasturtium leaves
2 cloves garlic
1.5 cups (NOT packed) coarsely grated pecorino cheese (or Parmesan)
Salt, to taste
Place the first three ingredients in a food processor and blitz together. Add olive oil in a stream and keep blending until you have a smooth-ish paste – I didn’t really measure but I imagine I used at least half a cup. Taste and add salt if you like. Scrape into a clean jar and cover with a layer of oil to help keep it fresh. Cap tightly and store in the fridge. Or, fill an ice cube tray & freeze, popping the little blocks out into a freezer bag for longer storage.
Let me know if you try it, or if you have any other unusual pesto recipes, or if you love nasturtiums too!