Radish Pesto Recipe
Here's a simple pesto made with radish greens. Radish greens have a strong, peppery flavor, which adds an interesting dimension to traditional pesto. If it's too strong for you, you could mix it with more traditional greens, such as basil or spinach.
We grow our own radishes, and it's really wonderful to be able to use all the fruits of our labor. Radishes are one of the easiest and fastest maturing crops that can be planted in the garden. The "French Breakfast" variety used in this recipe only require about 22 days to mature. Here in California, that works out to at least four or five harvests per season. So expect to see more radish recipes as long as it's sunny out!
The longer you leave the radishes in the ground, the spicier they get and the hairier the leaves will become. The leaves are still edible, but, the texture may become unpleasant, which is why I decided to put these greens to use in a pesto. In France, there are several soups made with radish greens. Cooking the greens, in general, will mellow them out a bit.
Yields: 1¼ cups1½ cups radish greens, leaves only
½ cup basil leaves
½ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
½ cup olive oil, as needed
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
Blanch (dip for 10 seconds in boiling, salted water then transfer to an ice-cold bath) the radish leaves and basil, drain, pat dry on a paper towel and roughly chop. In a mini-food processor or mini-blender, combine the greens, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and lemon juice. Pulse and slowly add the olive oil until it becomes a smooth paste. Add about 2 tablespoons (or more) of water if necessary, for a smoother flow. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the top with more olive oil. Serve at room temperature.
For a milder taste, you could use other greens such as arugula, spinach or basil instead.
You could use other nuts such as unsalted roasted pistachios.May 15, 2012.