Farmers' Market Favorite: Collard Greens Pesto

Let's just be clear about this up front.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Fiore Sardo. Source: Wikipedia
We've hijacked the classical pesto and now anydarnedthing can call itself a pesto it seems! Sundried tomato pesto, arugula pesto, mint pesto, mushroom pesto. We use all kinds of nuts, oils, herbs, seasonings. We toss them into a blender or processor or whatever we use to whirl these types of things together, we let it hum on the kitchen counter, pat ourselves on the back, and then, ceremoniously, we're all, Voila! Pesto! 

Well, no. Pesto is basil, pine nuts, parmigiano reggiano, garlic, and olive oil. You don't even have to call it basil pesto, because that's redundant. Pesto IS basil. 

Those are the rules.

And now I'm going to break them.  Almost every last one of them. I. am. incorrigible.

I wear quite a few hats these days, or aprons, if you will. One of my favorite roles to fill is that of Guest Chef (and marketing coordinator, and photographer, and content developer, and, and, and.....) for the Texas Farmers' Markets. A few weekend mornings a month, I have the pleasure of teaching market shoppers how to make the most of the foods in season and available at their weekly market. I arrive with NOT ONE IDEA of what I'm going to prepare-- I base the demonstration fully on what is available at the market that day.

Recent themes have included winter salads, bisques, soups, stews, and these few weeks leading up to the big game, healthy snacking.  We're calling it Super Foods for the Super Bowl. In fact if you're in the Austin area, well come on out!

We even tossed a little with the raw vegetable noodles our Market Sprouts made. It was fantastic!

Last week we made quick work of snack pizzas with wood-fired pita bread, coated with this Collard Greens Pesto, with toppings including Organicare Farms ham, Kitchen Pride Mushrooms, B5 Farms Tomatoes, and Brazos Valley Cheese. Stick them under a hot broiler until browned and DONE. But more on those snack pizzas another day.  Today, it's all about the pesto.

  • One bunch fresh collard greens, trimmed and de-stemmed (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
  • 2-3 healthy-sized cloves garlic, peeled, crushed (my pocket.  What? You don't carry garlic? What are you going to repel vampires with? You should give this some thought. Emergency garlic. It's just the smart thing to do.)
  • 1/4 c pecan halves (San Saba Pecans, Yegua Creek Pecans)
  • 1/2 c grated smoked gouda cheese (Brazos Valley Cheese)
  • 2 stems fresh dill (Johnson's Backyard Garden)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (Texas Olive Company)
  • salt, pepper, and lemon juice (optional), to taste
Pulse all ingredients in a blender or processor, gradually adding olive oil, until smooth. Correct seasonings.

Learn more:

Hey friends! Come out and see me at the Cedar Park Farmers' Market this Saturday, 10-12noon, and the Mueller Farmers' Market this Sunday, 11am-1pm.. There's a lot more where this came from! 

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