Many people were involved in creating this recipe (read about it here), and it turned out to be one of the best locavore recipes yet. Exotic looking and richly flavored garlic scapes provide the green herb for this pesto (instead of basil), and light and delicate hazelnut oil provides a robust support with a flavor strikingly different than the more commonly used olive oil.
Homemade paneer cheese stands in for parmesan (which is not produced locally), and ground hazelnuts add some crunch (instead of traditional pine nuts).
In short, this is a complete remake of a classic pesto sauce which, because of the incomparable flavors of local ingredients, turns out to be a stellar recipe all on its own. This is a something you simply must try. It’s locavore food at its best!
P.S. I just bought more scapes today while they’re still in season so I can make more of this pesto to freeze for use next winter. Put pesto in ice cube trays or small containers and freeze–it’s as simple as that. Some prefer to omit the cheese until after the pesto is thawed for use. I’d suggest trying it both ways to decide which you like best.
- 1 bunch (8-9) garlic scapes (Terra Verde Garden, Everson)
- ¼ cup hazelnuts (Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards, Lynden)
- ¾ cup hazelnut oil
- ¼ cup homemade paneer cheese (made with milk from Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy, Lynden)
- ¼ tsp salt
- Coarsely chop the garlic scapes and put them into a food processor.
- Add the hazelnuts and start the processor. Slowly trickle in the oil to make a thick sauce.
- Move the mixture into a mixing bowl. Crumble the cheese into the mixture and mix, mashing the cheese with a fork to break it into smaller bits.
- Add salt to taste.
Since this pesto is intensely flavored, serve it sparingly over cooked pasta (Bellingham Pasta, Bellingham). It also makes a good spread for sandwiches, and can be used to sauce vegetables, too.
Bellingham Farmers Market, Railroad at Chestnut, Bellingham
Islander, across from the ferry dock, Lummi Island