By Iso Rabins

Iso Rabins of forageSF is guest blogging for us every once in a while. Read his last post on throwing a potluck for strangers. Follow him on Twitter @forageSF. Read his blog at at foragesf.wordpress.com.

People love to eat flowers. It’s a fact. I was talking to a vendor at a farmers market one time, and he told me that the $4 salad mixes he sold could sell for $8 if he put in a couple edible flowers. Nothing fancy, just nasturtiums or wild radish, things he found around the farm. There is something about eating something so beautiful that draws people in. Consuming beauty, rather than just observing it…maybe too deep, but maybe true.

Anyway, no need to pay $8 for this recipe, just find a patch of nasturtiums. The best part about this nasturtium pesto is that you actually use the leaves for the recipe, so you can save the flowers for garnish. We paired it with fresh gnocchi and wild radish flowers at our last forageSF dinner, and it was a big hit. Pick leaves that are small and deep green, as these have the most intense flavor.

Foraged Nasturtium Pesto

1 cup fresh nasturtium leaves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Pulse the nasturtium leaves in a food processor with an ice cube until well blended (the ice cube helps keep the intense green color. This also works with basil pesto).

2. Add pine nuts and blend. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

3. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, with the food processor running. Stop periodically to scrape the sides. Check for flavor every once in a while. Decide for yourself the consistency you want. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Image courtesy of Robin Jolin.

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