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Salsa Verde – The Very Versatile Green Machine Sauce

Salsa Verde – The Very Versatile Green Machine Sauce

Listen to the applause circle the globe as I am FINALLY posting the recipe for the Green Machine Salsa Verde.  This recipe starting making the rounds with the Fajita Pot Lucky two years ago and has appeared in various iterations ever since, most recently at the All American BBQ Pot Lucky. Requested on the reg, I found when trying to share the recipe that I had continually been reinventing the ratios and ingredients. This is finally the definitive formula which I tested again just this week for another Pot Lucky, to be posted very soon. 

Salsa Verde Fajita

The Green Machine, while technically a Salsa Verde that can be used on its own in the traditional green sauce way, is so named because it’s a workhorse. Check out the laundry list of possibilities below. I’m not suggesting you try all these things at once – that’s for professionals, kids! – but this fajita above has the Salsa Verde as a marinade for both chicken and veg; it’s mixed with sour cream for the grand dollop, and it’s kicking up the guacamole. Try any one or two at a time, but pace it out. 

Salsa Verde

What is Salsa Verde? 

Unless you are living under a rock, you have no doubt come across this delicious dazzler. Every country has its own version: Italy has pesto, but also a parsley-based verde with capers and anchovies; Mexico’s includes cilantro and chilis; in various Asian countries you will find green curries; and of course, Argentina’s famous chimichurri is chockablock with parsley. The name chimichurri came with the arrival of the Basques in the late 19th century and their word tximitxurri, meaning a mixture of things in no particular order. This, too, is a sort of no rules recipe!

The recipe featured here is Mexican-based. Lots of cilantro, roasted chilis, tomatillos and lime juice. I used Hatch chilis, which are just starting to come into the market right now. They are exclusive to the Hatch Valley in New Mexico, and if you are lucky enough, your local store may have a few days or a week of offering them, most likely from the good people at Melissa’s Produce. Check their site to see if there are any stores near you. (They are at D&W in Grand Haven today!) The chilis, which have an earthy taste and varying degrees of heat, mature in a very short window in late August and September. My store roasts them for me, but I clean off the char and pull out the seeds and stems before zipping to freeze. It makes it infinitely easier to just pull out a few at a time all winter to throw into soups and stews, and, yes, more Salsa Verde, should I run out.

If you don’t get them, feel free to roast some poblanos or even use fresh jalapenos should you be grill-averse after a summer of BBQs.  

How do you thicken Salsa Verde?

Some versions of this yummy sauce may have you reducing down the mixture on the stove to thicken. Me: “Just say no!”  I feel that kills all those bright and beautiful greens and turns it to a dull olive drab.  I have two hacks to help with this. First I add a ripe avocado to thicken things up, and second I add a slow drizzle of olive oil with the processor running to emulsify the sauce. The avo may shorten the life a skosh, but you will go through it quickly so that’s never been a problem. You can also divvy it up into smaller containers and freeze small batches of it. You might even consider an ice cube tray to create portioned cubes of the saucy wonder. I have some in my shop that make large cubes and are covered for both easy stacking and keeping the freezer burn at bay. 

Caprese Verde

Salsa Verde Uses

Here are just a few of the many ways you can mix this green goodness into your daily life:

  • On the table as a condiment (photo below) – amazing with grilled meats
  • As a drizzle on cheeses (above on a Caprese) How about a burrata drizzle?
  • Mixed with sour cream for a dip or dollop (Mexican condiment tray at bottom)
  • Stirred into guacamole for a kick up
  • Mixed with yogurt as a spread (I just used it on steak sliders)
  • Marinade for vegetables, chicken, fish, or meats (vegetables below)
  • Glaze to brush on dishes just before they come off the grill
  • Pizza sauce
  • Spice up a tortilla soup …..or any other soup or stew
  • Eggs, hell yaas! How about that Mexican egg layered number, the chilaquiles?
  • Salad dressing – mix with buttermilk and make it creamy
  • Drizzle on a citrus salad? Grilled fish! Sauteed scallops! Steaks!
  • Anything tortilla based – Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, y mas! 
  • Cocktails! Shake it up with some lime juice and tequila! How about adding an oyster shooter to that combo? Oh yeah!

Salsa Verde Tableside

However you chose to use it, please report back. Comments and shares keep this blog going. I know you are going to love this and can’t wait to hear how you put this to use. Enjoy!

Vegetables Marinated in Salsa Verde

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Salsa Verde Fajita: white plate with a flour tortilla, grilled vegetables and chicken, sauced with salsa verde and accompanied by an arugula, corn, tomato and avocado salad

Salsa Verde – The Very Versatile Green Machine Sauce


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x

Description

The Green Machine, while technically a Salsa Verde that can be used on its own in the traditional green sauce way, is so-named because it’s a workhorse. Check out the laundry list of possible ideas from marinade, to dip, to dressing, to cocktails.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 roasted Hatch or poblanos chilis, seeds and ribs removed
  • 3 cups arugula, tightly packed
  • 1 bunch of Italian parsley, bottom stems discarded
  • 1 bunch cilantro, bottom stems discarded
  • juice of 4 limes (1/2 cup)
  • 3 medium tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
  • 1 avocado, scooped from the skin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup olive oil plus 1/4 cup water

Instructions

With the motor running, drop the garlic in the work bowl of a food processor until minced.

Add the chilis, arugula, parsley and cilantro in batches, pulsing as you add to create enough room and to chop finely.

Add the lime juice, tomatillos, avocado and salt. Pulse all ingredients until pureed.

With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and water. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Taste to adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, lime juice or olive oil to balance the flavor. Final seasoning will depend on the chilis used and the “flavorfulness” of your herbs and arugula.

Notes

If you don’t have roasted Hatch chilis in your freezer (autumn is the time to buy them fresh, possibly already roasted by your local store, and stock your freezer for the coming months) nor feel like firing up the grill to roast poblanos, substitute 1-2 fresh jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed

Serve as a dressing, marinade, salsa or sauce. If needed, you can thin with additional lime juice or water. Mix with sour cream or Greek yogurt to make a sauce or dip. Add to guacamole to kick up the guac heat. If using as a marinade, use 1 1/2 Tablespoons per chicken breast or per half-pound of meat.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blender/Processor
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Salsa Verde, Green Sauce

Condiments with salsa verde

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Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

Before you hit delete thinking “Who needs a Thanksgiving Harvest Salad when I can have fat, fat, and more fat on Thanksgiving?” I am here to tell you – YOU DO!! I talked my friend Cozy into this a couple years ago and I know it was a hit because she called me brilliant. I don’t often forget those who think I am brilliant. 🙂  As she quickly found out, this is all about the herbs. If I didn’t have to measure them for a printed recipe, I might just call for a crap-ton. You’ll want just that much. 

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 

Just as I was last making this salad, I found a new produce vendor on its maiden voyage to Michigan’s organic Sweetwater Market. I was squealingly happy! I thrived all summer on Summer Blend Gardens’ lettuce mix which included colorful nasturtium flowers and more. Highlight of the summer. But ba-bye, Marty. It’s fall now. Meet my new besties Caleb and Cindy-Beth at A Garden in the Woods. They bring the most gorgeous array of produce to this indoor winter market after spending their summer outdoors in Pentwater. How lucky am I? Even if you don’t live in the area, treat yourself by checking out their Instagram. Gorgeous. Stunningly beautiful!

Picking the Greens

For this salad, pick any assortment of greens you want, but I like a mix of colors and textures. Some salad blends at the grocery, like baby romaine, are heavy on young greens that don’t have much texture. So if that is your base, be sure to throw in some arugula or watercress. These add both pepper and bounce.

More Salad Greens

Even though I had no intention of adding radishes to the harvest salad, once Caleb told me these were not baby beets, but purple radishes, I had to. I just had to. Check out the cut radish in the salad photos – a gentle sponging of lavender fading across the cut surface. 

Purple Radishes

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

I see this wave of comprehension starting to wash over you, yet I still feel your skepticism – salad with lots and lots of herbs for Thanksgiving? I wasn’t kidding about the crap-ton of herbs. For 8 ounces of greens, I would add up to a cup of chopped, mixed herbs. I know I am still in sales mode on this herby addition, so I am ratcheting the herbiage down to a mere 1/2 cup in the recipe below. But be bold. Go for it. Add additional herbs if you are so called. Cozy reported that she ended up with arugula and spring mix with lots of fresh herbs. “You were right! The herbs made the complexity of the greens jump.” So trust us on this. 

Lots of Herbs

Now that you have a base in place, my go-to accoutrements are fall fruit, bits of cheese and sweet & spicy nuts. I used apples here, but if you have ripe juicy pears, they would be wonderful, as well as figs or persimmons. And while I used Barber’s Vintage Cheddar 1833 (it’s white) in small cubes (more interesting texture than grated), a perfect pearing (get it??) might include a blue like Roquefort or Stilton. Persimmons and fresh goat cheese anyone? I made that once at the request of Florence Fabricant of the New York Times, using Indiana’s Wabash Canonball, so if it’s good enough for her…………

Like most things in food and in life, winning combos are based either on similarities or contrast. Remember my celery root slaw? It was both! I made all the ingredients look the same (similarity), so you didn’t know til you tasted that there were three very different textures and tastes (contrast). Celery root, white cheddar and apple – all white, all grated. Surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrprise! Similarity and contrast all rolled into one humble slaw.

For the vinaigrette, I chose a lemon olive oil and a maple Balsamic. Gobble! Gobble! I have also used a pear Balsamic when using fresh pears. When using flavored Balsamics, I tend toward a one to one ratio with the olive oil because they are so much sweeter than a traditional vinegar and don’t require a lighter hand. In this case, the maple Balsamic is quite dense, so I scaled it back. If you are choosing your own flavors, start testing with a two to one oil to vinegar ratio and add more vinegar, as you need. Because this dressing is special to this menu, I am only making a small batch, and I short-cut the prep by putting it all in a bottle and shaking before serving. A proper vinaigrette, as you know, has the oil added last in a drizzle so that it can incorporate and emulsify. We are streamlining today because we are busy!! Of course you can prep all your ingredients and the dressing a day or so ahead, except any fruit that would oxidize like the apple. Just keep the ingredients wrapped separately in paper towels and zip bags, and assemble toward serving time. 

Harvest Salad with Apples & Cheddar

Now that we have settled on this glorious, fresh and palate-cleansing salad, there are a few other things that you might need to get on that table. Perfect roast turkey and gimme-more gravy? Check. Goat cheese and thyme mashed potatoes. Done. Brussels sprouts and prosciutto. You bet. And some delish cranberry ginger kumquat chutney. Done,done, done. All that is left is a winning Tennessee whiskey pumpkin ginger cheesecake. I have got you covered. All these recipes, complete with tips and must have equipment – looking at you potato ricer – are linked below. 

I will be back in a few days with another dessert idea – a Bourbon-laced Apple Crisp – so check back in. Above all, remember we are giving thanks in an extra special way right now – so take a deep breath, be grateful that you have food to cook with and people to cook for, and leave that stress at the grocery check out lane. And if Dear Abby were around, she’d probably ask you to put a basket at the door for cell phones and ask your friends and family for the gift of presence. Enjoy this week with a heart full of gratitude. Be back soon. 

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Harvest Salad overhead shot On a white plate with candied pecans, mixed greens, apple chunks and cheddar chunks, with purple radish slices

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 pound mixed greens, 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, including parsley, cilantro, dill and mint
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped, or other fall fruit such as pears, figs, persimmons, or dates
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 pound white cheddar, cut into small cubes (I use Barber’s cheddar)
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-ounce package of sweet & spicy pecans

Instructions

Combine greens, herbs, scallions, apple, avocado, cheddar and radishes in a large salad bowl. Toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make the vinaigrette, by combining the lemon olive oil, maple Balsamic, salt and pepper in a bottle and shaking to emulsify.

At serving time, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Top with the sweet & spicy pecans.

Notes

The herbs really define this as a special green mix, so don’t skimp here.

I always like to use a fruit for sweetness, the cheese for richness and a tang, and the nuts for crunch. All other ingredients rotate in and out depending on what I have around. The purple radishes were calling out to me and that avocado wasn’t getting any younger. Both were fresh new twists at Thanksgiving.

Trader Joe’s is a good source of several sweet & spicy nut mixes.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Thanksgiving Salad

Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Essentials: Roast Turkey Perfection and Gimme-More Gravy

Roast Turkey Perfection

Goat Cheese & Thyme Mashed Potatoes with a Thanksgiving Must-Have: The Potato Ricer!

Pot o Spuds

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Prosciutto

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

Spiced Cranberry Chutney

Tennessee Whiskey Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

Gentleman Jack Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2018. All rights reserved.

 

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Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Blue Cheese & Arugula

Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Blue Cheese & Arugula

Fig Prosciutto Pizza

This Fig Prosciutto Pizza is a far cry from those sticky Newtons you grew up on. Sweet jammy fig butter, with crispy and salty Prosciutto, creamy rich Cambozola and fresh luscious figs let this pizza span a meal from appetizer to dessert, while achieving rock star status along the way.  If you are like me, your first exposure to figs was the famous Fig Newton. Can’t say I was really a fan. It was kind of gummy and way too seedy for a kid. But yet, against all odds, the Newton became a fan favorite. Must be all that sugar. What really surprises me though is that Newtons are almost always the end of the line for the poor fig. After childhood, we fickle feasters don’t look back and all too often have never seen a fresh fig, much less tasted one. I ran across them in the garden when staying with friends in Italy some thirty years ago. My hostess was not a fan of the texture, and I get that, especially if you pull it from the tree and chomp into it, apple-style. But the flavor!! Oh my. It is a perfect foil for a creamy rich blue cheese and some salty Prosciutto. Hmmm…let me think what else? Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Pizza dough? Now we’re cooking with gas!!!

Black Mission Figs

Fresh figs have a fairly short season – found both in the spring and the fall, or if you are in Cali maybe a bit longer. They date back to 9000+ BC and were cultivated more than 1000 years before wheat or rye. Their existence is well documented from Aristotle to the art world. I mean, where would we be without fig leaves? Spanish missionaries brought them to the US in the late 1700s, where the Mission variety thrived in the California sunshine. To this day, Black Mission figs are among the most popular and that is what I used here.

Dried figs used to be a bit tough and required soaking (brandy wouldn’t be so bad) to use. But today there are unsulfured, wonderful, juicy varieties available in resealable pouches. Valley Fig offers organic dried  Mission figs and Made in Nature offers dried Smyrna figs that are velvety and have “hints of honey, jam and butterscotch.” If you can’t find fresh figs, try chopping some of these in place of the fresh. As Made in Nature’s package says, “… congrats, nature. You really nailed it on this one.” They’re “figgin awesome.”

Prosciutto, Cambozola, Fresh Figs and Fig Butter

For the cheese, I used Cambozola, but there is a wide range of blues from which to choose, especially Stilton or Roquefort. I like the creaminess and richness of Cambozola as an offset to the salty meat and juicy fruit. This cow’s milk cheese, made in Germany, is a triple crème-ripened blue cheese and you might liken it to a cross between a blue and a brie. You would not be all wrong. While the name appears to be a portmanteau of Camembert and Gorgonzola given its similarity to the rich creaminess of Camembert and the blue bite of Gorgonzola, the name is also a nod to its terroir. It is made in Kempten (in Bavaria), whose Roman name is Cambodunum.

Fig Prosciutto Pizza

Fig Prosciutto Pizza

This is really another non-recipe recipe, which I know y’all love. Proportions are not essential when topping pizzas. Actually, even choosing the ingredients is not critically important. Just remember to aim for a balance of sweet, salty, fat and acid and a mix of textures, and if you dare, a contrast in temperatures. As written below, the jam provides sweetness; the cheese and meat are salty; the cheese adds creamy fat and richness; the vinegar add acid and serves as a light (just a drizzle) dressing for the arugula. The textures range from creamy to crispy, and the temperature is hot pizza with cold salad. Done and Done!

Fig, Cambozola and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

Let me know how it goes, and – as always – I love to read your comments on the website and see your photos on Instagram.

Happy Fall!

Arugula atop a fig prosciutto pizza

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Fig, Cambozola and Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula with a slice out - overhead shot and close up

Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Blue Cheese & Arugula


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x

Description

This Fig Prosciutto Pizza is a far cry from those gummy Newtons you grew up on. Sweet jammy fig butter, with crispy and salty Prosciutto, creamy rich Cambozola and fresh luscious figs let this pizza span a meal from appetizer to dessert. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1-pound fresh pizza dough (see notes)
  • 11-ounce jar of Fig Butter (or fig jam) – may have leftovers
  • Favorite oil for drizzling on crust (I wouldn’t be mad if you used truffle oil once it comes out of the oven, but brush the crust with something less delicate before baking. Lemon oil is nice)
  • 8 fresh figs, about 1/3 pound, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Cambozola cheese, or other creamy blue like Gorgonzola
  • 8 slices Prosciutto
  • 3 cups of arugula
  • Crema di Balsamico, or a balsamic reduction
  • Flaky sea salt to finish – like my beloved Maldon’s

Instructions

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 425oF. Check pizza dough directions to confirm this is best for your dough.

Lightly flour a work surface and stretch or roll the pizza dough into a 12” diameter round. If you are using the roll-out dough that comes in a popping-fresh canister, follow those directions and roll into a rectangle, but plan on using more topping ingredients. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled pan.

Spread the fig butter to create a thin layer, leaving a 1/2 “ border of dough around the outside. (See notes.)   Brush the exposed outer ring of dough with a favorite oil.

Set the pan on the pizza stone and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is set.

Carefully remove from oven, adding the figs, some dollops of Cambozola and the Prosciutto. I like to take a half-slice of Prosciutto and twirl into a rosette, but some prefer to chop it and distribute the flavor more uniformly. Maybe you should be making two pizzas?

Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes or until the crust is golden and the Prosciutto starts to crisp. The cheese should be melty.

Remove from oven and top with the arugula. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction (or Crema di Balsamico) and sprinkle with a flaky finishing salt.

Notes

Dessert Pizza or Appetizer? Actually, I have served it both ways. Spread the fig butter according to taste and purpose. If you use the whole jar (don’t judge) it will be pretty sweet. But it will also be nice and jammy. Depending on your taste, you might want to load up a bit more on the salty items like the cheese and Prosciutto.

Trader Joe’s makes a great fresh pizza dough, stashed in the cheese and prepared food refrigerator case. You can find it made with white flour, whole wheat and even gluten-free.

Stonewall Kitchen makes a lovely Fig & Walnut Butter and Valley Fig offers three flavors of fig spread. For this test, I used the Trader Joe’s Fig Butter.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main, App, Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian, American

Keywords: fig prosciutto pizza

Fig Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2018. All rights reserved.

 

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Savoring Spring: Five-Minute Arugula & Scape Pesto

Savoring Spring: Five-Minute Arugula & Scape Pesto

Drool-Worthy Scape Pesto Pasta

Finally! Ermahgerd!!!! Did you think that winter would ever end?? I for one did not. Today in NYC it was 90 and stickeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! But that means not only are the farmers’ markets in full spring swing, they are pushing out the bounty that Mother Earth shares this time of year. Garlic scapes! Remember them? I am scooping them up to dose plain ole pesto with these fresh shoots and flowering stems of the garlic bulb, while also jam-packing the processor with not only basil, but also arugula and parsley. Arugula and Garlic Scape Pesto! Oh yeah!!

Those growing garlic will be familiar with this curlicue that shoots up from the buried bulb. I’m sending out this scape pesto recipe now because my readers are scattered across the globe, and it is found from May through July, depending on where you are. It usually starts shooting up about a month after the bulb’s first leaves, and many will cut it back and compost to stop diverting energy so the bulb itself can fatten up. Resist! Just say no! Cut back, but don’t compost. There are many things you can do with these stems, from chopping and adding to a potato salad, to making sauces like this scape pesto, to making those cute bundles below. They can be eaten raw, blanched, roasted or grilled. For a deep dive on all things you can do with these divine shoots, check out (and follow) Suzie Durigon at Just Crumbs. She has a wonderful post on everything you always wanted to know about scapes

Garlic Scape

Try to find a farmer that will sell you a big bag. They last a month or so in a plastic bag in the fridge, and buying them by the piece can get pricey. I have seen them for a quarter each, but I shop at the end of the day and dazzle farmers with my true appreciation for this shoot. I can usually make off with a 2-gallon ziplock filled for just $10. As long as you are successful in your hunt,  why don’t you whip up a batch of Roasted Garlic Scapes? You won’t be sorry. They have that I-want-more-ish quality like salted edamame, with a big dose of robust flavor. Plus they are easy-peasy and are a bit of a show stopper.  

Serve Worthy Garlic Scapes

Arugula & Scape Pesto

The ingredients, ratios and directions are detailed below, but rest easy that this is a 5 minute processor recipe. The scapes, arugula, parsley, and basil give it a jewel-like green color and the Parmesan and sunflower seeds (so much cheaper and flavorful than pine nuts) give it some body. I am serving it here atop a fresh gemelli (did you know that is Italian for twins, as the pasta is doubled over and twisted together?) and oven-dried tomatoes. The tomatoes are from the freezer and were dried at the end of last season when they were at their peak. I linked the recipe below so you can keep it in mind for later this year. You could also add some of the other spring veggies, like peas or asparagus tossed in at the end of the pasta’s cooking, or even some sauteed morels or other spring mushrooms. This flavorful pesto is not limited to pasta: drizzle it on a Caprese, marinate vegetables for the grill, or spoon it on a grilled steak or chicken breast. It’s so universal you can also slather it on a panini. 

Scape Pesto

 

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Drool-Worthy Scape Pesto Pasta

Arugula & Scape Pesto


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x

Description

Swapping out more mature bulb garlic with just-in-season garlic shoots, while supplementing the basil with arugula and parsley, gives this scape pesto a bright and spring-like freshness that is great on anything from pasta to grilled fare to tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1012 garlic scapes, trimmed and sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup tightly packed basil
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed arugula
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Place the scape, basil, parsley and arugula in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse 8 – 10 times until coarsely chopped.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil, and pulse again to combine.  With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin stream until combined and desired texture is reached, scraping down the side of the workbowl as necessary.

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Notes

The salt in this recipe is based on using it with pasta. If you plan to use it in a non-carby way like a fresh mozzarella drizzle, then you may want to cut back on the salt.

Serving suggestion:

Serve on pasta – hot or cold; top a tomato and fresh mozzarella Caprese; spoon onto grilled chicken, steaks, fish or vegetables; or slather on a sammy.  

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blender/Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Scape Pesto

When you give this spring arugula and scape pesto a whirl, tag me on Instagram and as always, I LOVE to see your comments below.

Scape Pesto on Gemelli with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Need a refresher on You’ll Thank Me in the Winter Oven-Dried Tomatoes? No sweat!

oven dried tomatoes

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Salad Days of Summer: Farm Fresh Summer Squash & Arugula Salad

Salad Days of Summer: Farm Fresh Summer Squash & Arugula Salad

Summer Squash Salad

How is it exactly that “Salad Days” has gone from meaning green and naïve (Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra) to the more current American connotation of being at one’s heyday or pinnacle?  So American, right?  Wait long enough and it can mean whatever you want.  And what I want is green – as in green salad with green (and yellow) summer squash.  It’s reparation for making you go to that 425o kitchen last week, chasing a cherry pie.  This one is perfect for these oppressive muggy days. You won’t have to turn on a thing.

I have to admit, I never really thought about raw squash as a tasty treat, finding it a bit pithy and bland. However a couple summers ago I was on a media tour for a client and met a journalist at a farm to table restaurant in NYC where I promptly fell in love with a version of this salad.  The trick is to thinly slice the squash – as paper thin as possible.  I like using a mandoline and particularly like the Matfer Mandoline.

Thinly slicing squash on a mandoline

I once styled a cooking segment on the Today Show for the best chef in the Army, and he turned me on to this fine piece of equipment. I have had it for 15+ years and it is still in great shape.  It’s got good safety features, so it’s not scary like some mandolines, and it doesn’t pit or corrode like the one I got in France a zillion years ago and need to toss.   Chef arrived on some kind of Army transport so he didn’t have to worry about blades at TSA.  However his most important travel companion was an 8 1/2 x 11” flat piece of striped genoise sponge cake that was created by piping razor thin lines of alternating chocolate and vanilla batter.  He used it to line a tall glass trifle bowl for an elegant presentation.  And he carried it in a manila file folder.  Filed under P for pastry?  I was pretty much speechless. Given the turn of world events, I often wonder if our military still carry pastry in their file folders.

After first tasting that salad in NYC, I have tweaked it pretty much every time I make it and this is how it rolls this summer.  A dear friend recently delivered a spice jar filled with a pepper blend which I found I couldn’t live without. I burned through that jar in short order and have now made my own.  Mine seems a lot darker than hers so I suspect mine has more black pepper.  She even recommends adding green peppercorns to the mix, but so far I have not tried that.   I love the KitchenAid coffee grinder to grind all my spices  – and now they have an even better model that comes with an additional bowl fitted with a blade optimized for spices, in addition to the primary bowl specifically tooled for coffee – two gadgets in one – KitchenAid Blade Coffee and Spice Grinder Combo.

Pepper, Cardamom & Coriander

Zesty Pepper Blend

  • 1 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 cup coriander seeds

Grind each seed separately in a spice grinder or mini chopper.  Mix all spices together and store in an airtight container.

Summer squash with spice blend

Summer Squash and Arugula Salad

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3 cups arugula
  • ¼ pound sheep’s milk cheese, such as Ewephoria, cut in shards or with a cheese planer
  • Seasoning: flaky sea salt like Maldon Sea Salt Flakes and zesty pepper blend
  • Dressing: equal parts fresh lemon juice and EVOO, whisked together

Trim the zucchini and yellow squash and slice thinly by hand or using a mandoline.

Arrange the summer squash and arugula on four salad plates. Grate the sheep’s milk cheese on top and season with salt and zesty pepper blend.

Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette.

Serves  4.

Summer Salad with Grilled Shrimp

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