First published December 2015 in York Press
I love walking around my local market at this time of year. New season Spanish citrus are out in force – along with locally grown favourites such as Jerusalem artichoke, crown prince squash and super-trendy curly kale.
Whilst the re-emergence of kale is relatively new, we have been growing this dark, calcium rich vegetable since the 5th century. I love to throw kale into a slow cooked curry but not everyone is a fan of the earthy, fibrous texture. This winter pesto recipe softens the flavour slightly and is an incredibly versatile way of delivering a nutritious, flavourful boost amongst all of that seasonal indulgence. Mix with breadcrumbs as a topping for smoked fish, stir through homemade risotto, warm green lentils or even the ubiquitous turkey soup.
The pesto will keep for up to a week in the fridge and freezes well. Or spoon into sterilised jars as a last minute Christmas gift for foodie friends.
150g of green curly kale
150g walnut pieces
200ml cold pressed rapeseed oil
The juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
- Strip the leaves of the curly kale away from the tough stalks and rinse thoroughly to remove any hidden grit. Shake off any excess water then tear into smaller pieces.
- Place the kale leaves into your food processor and blitz. You may need to do this in two batches if you have a small machine like mine. If so, return all of the reduced kale to the food processor before moving onto the next stage.
- Tip in the walnut pieces and manchego and blitz again. Whilst the food processor is running, slowly pour in the rapeseed oil and lemon juice.
- Remove the lid and taste your pesto. Season it with salt and pepper if required. Consider the flavour and texture. I like my pesto fairly thick but you may wish to add more oil and/or lemon juice to achieve a thinner consistency. Keep tasting and adding bit by bit until you are happy with the end result.
- If you are giving the pesto as a gift – spoon into sterilised glass jars and pour a little more of the rapeseed oil over the top to create a seal. Screw the lid on tight.