Friday, June 24, 2011

Farmer's Market Friday: Arugula

Arugula is a tiny, little wonder plant. It's a bit bitter and peppery and contains an amazing amount of folate (good for pregnancy!) lutein for eyesight, and carotenes which help against cancer.  I've had arugula before in salads but the person manning the booth last week mentioned using it in pesto. Well, we love pesto around these parts so that was a total go for me!
The cool part is I could get most everything right from the market there! Garlic, walnuts, basil, arugula. So few ingredients. Such large taste. So, onto the recipe. This took me about 20 minutes to whip up.  It is, by far, the best pesto I've ever had, bar none. No restaurant has ever served me better pesto! Try it!

Arugula Basil Pesto

2 cups packed arugula leaves, de-stemmed
1/4 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup paremsan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shelled walnuts

Start by browning 4 of the garlic cloves on medium heat in a pan. You do this by simply leaving the skin on and allowing the heat to lightly brown the outer edges. Remove from heat when browned and let cool before peeling. Add walnuts to same pan and toast on same heat until desired flavor. I did about 4-5 minutes. Put arugula, basil, Parmesan, salt, walnuts, and the 4 toasted cloves plus the one extra un-toasted clove in food processor. Blend in the oil until smooth. That's it!

It looks like the recipe calls for an overwhelming amount of garlic, but the truth is, when you roast it, it makes the flavor a lot more hearty but not so strong. I like a bit of the pungent garlic flavor so that's what the one raw clove is good for. If you have a market nearby that sells fresh picked garlic, use that. It has a much more intense flavor then common store garlic.

Pesto is amazing stirred into pasta noodles and shredded chicken, as a glaze for roasted potatoes, as a sauce on pizza, on tortillas in place of mayo when making wraps, etc etc...  

The super cool "Nut" booth!

How gorgeous is fresh produce, anyway? 

 Today's Score..
Two Sister's Honey (I needed a new squeeze bear!), Arugula, Kale, Walnuts, Beets, Romaine, Fudge spoons (really interesting!)

 I became an expert at cracking tough shells.... =)

 Roasting the walnuts

After browning the garlic, I let them "sweat" a bit for easier extracting

Everything in the food processor!

My darling little Vienna, watching ever so intently

 The Final Product!!

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