Arugula Pesto

By David Cohlmeyer

Makes 4 servings

You do not need to wait until summer basil season to savour the joy of pesto. This is another great pesto to toss with pasta. You can also use it as a spread on toast, over roasted potatoes, as the sauce on pizza, to garnish grilled fish, or as an amazing vegetable dip.

While you are cleaning and drying the arugula, start the walnuts and garlic roasting.

1/2 cup             walnut halves

4                      cloves  garlic, peeled

3 cups              arugula, cress or mustard, or a combination, rinsed and dried

                        Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

                        Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup             grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/4 tsp             sea salt

3/4 cup            (approx) extra virgin olive oil

Put the walnuts and garlic on a small baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350º F toaster oven until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. (Alternately, toast the walnuts and garlic in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the nuts.) Transfer immediately to a plate to cool.

In the bowl (or jar) of a food processor or heavy-duty blender, process (or blend) the walnuts, garlic and arugula until coarsely chopped. Process (or blend) in the lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese and salt. Run the processor (or blender) as you slowly drizzle in the oil until the mixture is thickened, somewhat like mayonnaise. Use the pesto immediately or promptly transfer it into a jar and refrigerate, covered, for up to one week.