Craving Green

Just when my stomach starts growling this time of year for the vibrant green flavors of spring, I’m glumly reminded that there are still weeks to wait until the first asparagus spear, fava bean pod, or itsy bitsy pea makes its way into New York’s farmer’s markets. Spring may have officially arrived, but, in the kitchen, winter stubbornly persists.

This is a tough time for me to find inspiration behind the stove. I’m through with Brussels sprouts, sick of squash, and can’t bear another stew. However, I’ve discovered just the thing to get me through these long weeks before the spring harvest appears in the market-parsley pesto.

Made just like its basil counterpart (but with fresh parsley instead), a dollop of parsley pesto adds a gust of fresh life to nearly any dish: steaming soups, simple frittatas, cheesy paninis, roasted fish, or tangles of pasta. Made with garlic, lemon juice, toasted pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil, the thin emerald paste makes me nearly forget about my longing for the flavors of spring. That is, until the asparagus finally arrives.

Parsley Pesto

This is more of a method than a recipe; tweak it to your liking.

  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 bunch clean organic parsley, stems cut off where the leaves start (discard the bottom stems)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus more if desired
  • Small handful freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil

With the motor running, drop the garlic clove into the feed tube of a food processor and chop finely. Turn off the motor and add the parsley, lemon juice, Parmigiano Reggiano, pine nuts or walnuts, water and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Process until everything is finely chopped, then drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until the pesto becomes smooth and slightly creamy. Take a taste, and add more lemon juice, salt, pepper or olive oil if desired. The pesto will keep covered and refrigerated for one week.

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By Nicki Sizemore

is the Food Editor of the Organic Wine Journal.