Finally found a way to make the luscious flavors of wild spring herbs last and last…at least until summery basil gets underway. This sauce can be used any way you’d use pesto. It’s especially delicious in a spring vegetable minestrone.
4 packed cups (1/4 lb./100 g.) nettle leaves
2 packed cups (1/4 lb./100 g.) sorrel leaves
2 packed cups (1/4 lb./100 g.) coarsely chopped wild garlic or ramps
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ cup (40 g.) sunflower seeds or pine nuts
¼ cup (60 g.) grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup (100 ml.) olive oil
PLACE the nettles in a large bowl, and cover with 2 inches boiling water. Cover, and let stand 15 minutes to blanch the leaves. Drain, and squeeze out all the liquid with your hands.
TRANSFER the nettles, sorrel, and wild garlic to a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped, Add the sunflower seeds Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and pulse until combined. With the motor running blend in the olive oil, adding more if necessary to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a jar, smooth the top, and cover with a thin film of olive oil to keep the pesto green. (Cover the pesto with olive oil after each use.) Keeps in the fridge up to 1 month. Makes about 1 ½ cups/600 ml.