Lori and I are preparing to leave for a couple weeks. Just about everything is done. Even the weather has taken a turn for the worse, so I don’t feel so bad about leaving Seattle in the summer. I was feeling sort of guilty because one of the places we’re going to is colder and rainier than Seattle. (Yes, it turns out there is such a place. And, no, it’s not Olympia.)
But there is still some food we need to eat or preserve. We go through pains to use food, me probably more so. I think I am just more fearless when it comes to eating old food. That’s how I’ve fortified my gut against bacteria like Mithradates protected himself against poison. (Except that one time in Syria, but that was Syria!!)
Arugula was one of those foods. But how do you preserve arugula? You can freeze it, but then you have to blanch it and pack it and–eew, I have to stop myself. A better way is by whizzing it into pesto. Arugula can be dangerous, though, in amounts too high, like cilantro. It gets bitter.
We went for it, anyway, and the result was amazing, like arugula essence but with tact and self-awareness and manners. Walnuts keep the arugula grounded; parsley takes off some of the edge.
Easy Arugula Pesto
Makes about 5 cups.
- 425 g. walnut (4-1/2 cups)
- 275 g. arugula (7 cups packed)
- 50 g. flat-leaf parsley (1-1/2 cups)
- 15 g. garlic (4-5 cloves)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt (We used about a tablespoon plus a pinch or two more)
- Black pepper (We used about a teaspoon or two)
In a preheated oven, roast the walnuts at 350 degrees F. for about ten minutes, or until they are fragrant. Cool.
Whizz them in a food processor until pasty. Add the garlic, parsley and arugula (in batches, if need be), until blended. Add salt and pepper, to taste. While still whizzing, drizzle in the oil until smooth and creamy. Adjust seasonings to taste.
To freeze (because, yes, it will freeze and thaw well), pack in half pint containers, leaving a few centimeter between the pesto surface and the bottom of the lid. Freeze for up to a couple months.
Use this as any pesto would be used. Here’s what we did.
Fisherman-Farmer’s Power Pita
- 1 pita
- Arugula pesto
- 2 eggs
- Crab meat
- Sea salt
Get a pot of water boiling for the eggs. Reduce to a simmer, drop the eggs, and cook for 8 minutes to medium-boil them. Remove and shock in ice water. Peel.
Toast the pita, rub on the pesto, smash on the eggs, and finish with some pinches of crab meat. Season with a sprinkle of sea salt and you have the best and easiest, most protein-packed brunch ever!!!
Photos by Lori Paulson