At the Siena Farms farmers' market booth, the radish greens did a fine job of upstaging the gorgeous pink radish roots. And, well, it sorta worked. I am now in love with radish leaf pesto!
I went to the farmers' market on Friday to grab some food and say hi to Farmer Chris and his team. The greens looked amazing and so vibrant. I got one bunch of breakfast radishes, which are the long pink ones that fade to white at the tips. (Oh, how I love them!) I also picked up a bunch of regular radishes that are small globes of intense reds, pinks and purples. They're like translucent gems.
Unlike other radishes I've gotten at the store, these were perfect...in every way. The greens were alive and crisp and green—I simply had to use them instead of throwing them away. Usually, we have the idea to use vegetables greens (especially lovely, tasty beet greens), but all too often the greens look unappealing, dry, and yellowish—not so good.
Recently, Clotilde of Chocolate & Zucchini mentioned radish leaf pesto and, as I looked at my beautiful farmers' market find, I knew I had the perfect bunches to try it with. I used her recipe as an inspiration, but I made it with fewer ingredients and with slightly different proportions that fit how we eat—I like a thinner consistency for quick prep.
I pinched the leaves off the stems, popping the leaves into the food processor and the stems right into the compost caddy. These bunches were so perfect that there were almost no leaves to discard. In all, the two bunches made for 4 1/2 ounces of greens. Once it was chopped for a minute, it became a much more manageable volume and I just put it in the smaller processor bowl to make sure the blade hit it all evenly.
I blitzed it all in the machine, scraping down the sides occasionally. We ate some for a late night snack, but the rest of it went right into the freezer in an ice cube tray. I popped them out the next morning and sealed them properly. The pesto tastes like clear spring and vibrant greens. The cheese adds a good base note and makes it a little nutty, but the sharpness of the greens really holds up. It's awesome.
Yesterday I took 2 cubes out of the freezer and used them to coat some ditalini, which I served to my 3-year-old with chop sticks. (Ditalini fits nicely on a chop stick so it's extra fun to eat!) She devoured it and loved it...just like the adults did.
Basil and parsley pesto are amazing, but the radish pesto was peppery without being too heavy and "herby." This recipe will be on frequent repeat as long as the greens look amazing. What a treat, come fall or mid-winter, to pluck a couple of cubes of late spring from the freezer for a speedy meal.
I've had radishes cut and salted on buttered bread every day since Friday—so, so amazing. Those won't last, but the pesto will...as long as I make enough.
- greens from two bunches of radishes (4 1/2 ounces), stems removed
- 2 small heads of fresh, young garlic, or 1 clove of dry garlic
- 3 1/2 tablespoons of delicious olive oil
- 1 3/4 ounces of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Put leaves and garlic in the food processor. Chop.
- Drizzle in half the oil as it's chopping. Scrape down the sides.
- Add the cheese. Blend more.
- Drizzle in the rest of the oil, or until you get the consistency you like.