Last week, we were gifted with a CSA (community-supported agriculture) box. One of B’s work colleagues runs the drop-off spot for this particular farm, and an unclaimed share was generously passed on to us under the (exceedingly correct) assumption it would be used and appreciated. As I’m sure comes as no surprise, I’ve never been part of a CSA before, but I can definitely see the appeal. The only downside with this box was that it was one of the “family” shares—intended for households with more than 2 people. Which meant we suddenly had a house full of summer squash, peaches, potatoes (on top of the ones we already have from our garden), dill, mizuna, green beans, wax beans (again, on top of the ones we’re already harvesting), carrots (again, more), and French crisp lettuce. The squash were no problem—immediately grated and frozen in bags for bread and muffins. A little bit of the mizuna went into BMTs—bacon-mizuna-tomato sandwiches, using heirloom tomatoes from our garden—but what do with the rest, other than insert it unceremoniously in a series of salads? Pesto, of course!
I had a little less mizuna than 2 cups, so I topped it off with some basil from the Aerogarden. I have no idea if more mizuna would have made this a more bitter pesto, but if you have 2 cups’ worth, don’t be afraid to use it all. As below it makes about a cup; enough for a pound of pasta.
• 2 cups packed mizuna (or as much mizuna as you have, topped off with basil): $0
• 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts: 75 cents
• Juice from half a lemon: 30 cents
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan: 50 cents
• 2/3 cup olive oil: 60 cents
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
Combine the mizuna, pine nuts, cheese, and lemon juice in a blender or small food processor. Process until chopped. Add the olive oil, a little at a time, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve either with a pound of pasta (as seen above, with a garden-tomato salad), or freeze in smaller servings to eat a later time.
Creative! Another variation on pesto that I like uses cilantro instead of basil. Actually, it’s possible that the cilantro version is the original – there’s an ancient Roman recipe for it. (The Romans called it “moretum”.)
For some reason I would never have thought to use cilantro…I’ve got to try it!