seafood friendly pesto…or what to do with a surplus of english peas?

a spring green pea pesto…

a spring green pea pesto… (photo courtesy of SHANE ALBRENT/albrent07@gmail.com)

happy spring, dear readers…

here at the burgeno-berman household we have a few yearly garden rituals.  one being that every year at the end of march (today) we harvest what’s left in the winter/spring garden beds and prepare the triangular beds and soil for the planting of dahlia tubers.  this year we were happily blessed with bowls full of tender and colorful lettuces, spicy arugula, chioggia beets (with delicious beet tops) and hearty rainbow swiss chard.   however, this year the most bountiful crop by far were the plump and spring green english peas.

over the past months i’ve added them raw to soups; i’ve created pasta dishes with peas as the edible focal point; i’ve blanched them for salads and grain dishes…and we’ve eaten the raw peas straight from the pods.  today i experimented with creating a “pesto of sorts” with the peas.  since we are having unseasonably warm weather (unlike most of the country) i thought some grilled shrimp tacos might be just the vehicle to deliver the pea/cilantro pesto to my readers…and to our dinner plates tonight!

i kept the consistency rather chunky to show off the texture and color of the raw peas…and because we love texture in our food.  (if you prefer a more “hummus-like” consistency, by all means add a bit of water, olive oil or vegetable broth).

the ingredients are few and the prep and clean-up are VERY easy.    the taste is fresh and evocative of a pesto, but with non-traditional “pesto” ingredients.  though the goat milk feta is optional, i feel it gave the pea pesto just the right amount of saltiness.

ingredients:

1 cup shelled english peas (not frozen); 1 cup packed cilantro w/stems; 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar; 1/4 cup raw pine nuts (or unsalted nut of your choice); 1 large peeled garlic clove; 2 tablespoons goat milk feta (optional); salt to taste.  puree all ingredients in a food processor…voila!  told you it was simple!

yields approximately: 1 1/2 cups pea/cilantro pesto

NOTE:  the pesto would be tasty (and vibrant) on toasted baguettes; wholegrain crackers; tossed with some spinach pasta; dolloped on an egg dish; or as a seafood condiment (see above photo).

i hope you will try it and let me know what you think.  keep checking colormykitchen.com for blackberry recipes (going to be harvesting in a month) and, of course, for photos of the magnificent dahlias that will gracing our front yard in july/august.

enjoy,

elena