This month's Recipe Redux ingredient was Spring Sprouts. The only vegetable I could find in my market besides rhubarb was asparagus. You do with what you can get. To make sure it was a fresh as possible I put off buying it till as close to our posting date and as I arrived at my Shop-Rite, I was in shock to see the price had tripled! since Easter. I refused to buy it, but then realized I would have nothing to post and I became somewhat upset.
Then I got mad.
Then I got even.
I did have asparagus.... ha. ha YOU!. I remembered that I had a bunch of already cooked spears in my fridge but I was saving that for a soup because I had walked away from the pot while it was steaming and, well..... you know, it was quite apparent I was going to be making a soup soon.
Not one to give up, I decided to not take the easy way out and make something other then a soup with that overcooked reminder that I need to get a timer to wear around my neck.
What to do with overcooked, mushy asparagus? Now, don't tell me you have never overcooked asparagus (or eaten someone else's). But what to make that is not traditional asparagus fare?
I have seen posts about asparagus pesto here and there, so that's where I started.
I searched out my favorite new healthy eater's column in the NY Times, The Minimalist. Mark had a good basic recipe but I wanted more, so I went to Closet Cooking. Kevin always adds a unique twist to his dishes, but he got his recipe from Simply Recipes, who posted hers from Heidi's Cookbook.
Ya gotta love the blogging community.
Not stopping there, I went to Serious Eats and their version added pistachios. Now that was new and something I could get into. I loved the nut addition (diabetes and nuts, perfect together).
One constant ingredient in all those recipes was also spinach. Another great addition, I actually had cooked spinach in my fridge. So far, so good.
With an over abundance of chicken breasts in the freezer, The Nudge might actually like this. I now had a plan. I added my own touch by toasting three nuts for an added nutritional punch (pine nuts, almonds and walnuts, a tablespoon of each) and grated cow and sheep's milk cheeses.
The beauty of this pesto is, it is oober healthy and served with chicken, it was a complete meal. I did make a side of whole wheat Israeli saffron cous cous risotto but a nice whole wheat pasta would also work as well with the addition of a few halved grape tomatoes for sweetness and color.
makes 2 cups
* 10-12 cooked asparagus spears, roughly chopped
* 1/4 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry
* 1 tablespoon each, pine nuts, walnuts, and almonds
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 6 basil leaves
* 3 cloves garlic
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1 tablespoon nut oil (walnut, pumpkin seed, squash seed, etc)
* 1/2 cup grated Locatelli cheese and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 4 grilled boneless chicken breasts
* 1 cup quinoa, bulgur or brown rice
1. Toast nuts.
2. Process asparagus and spinach. Add garlic and nuts. If mixture is too stiff, add olive oil.
3. Add basil, lemon juice and honey.
4. Drizzle in oils and remove mixture to a bowl.
5. Hand stir in cheeses (the heat from the processor will drastically change the flavor of the cheese).
6. Spoon 1/4 cup pesto over each breast.
Review: Spooned on a roasted chicken breast completely changed the taste of this pesto from a fresh, bright green paste to a wonderful sweet and nutty sauce. I want to use it on paninis, stirred into a wheat berry salad, spooned over sliced tomatoes (with sea salt), stirred into a steaming bowl of corkscrew pasta or on a crostini topped with a poached egg. This freezes well if you pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top so it doesn't oxidize. It must have been good, The Nudge sat back and said "Wow, that has a ton of flavor".
Thank you Recipe Redux, for introducing me to yet another avenue not yet ventured.
Although I have scheduled a few posts to be published, I will actually be sailing to Europe for the next two weeks. We are taking only a cell phone and an MP3 loaded with audiobooks, so any computer work will have to wait till after May 7th.........