Parsley Pesto + Chickpea Salad
Post by Anna
It’s summer, which means the how-fast-can-you-go-through-a-shit-ton-of-leafy-greens game is on! Juggling my own garden and a first time CSA share has brought me face to face with a bounty of wonderful vegetables and their tiny, tiny shelf lives. It is both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking to a girl who hates to waste food—but also great Tupp Up material.
By mid-June, the first crops of the garden (kale + parsley) are completely overshadowed by more exciting younger siblings—kohlrabi, green beans, and the favorite child, little green tomatoes. As the weather warmed in an unusually summery Seattle spring, I watched the thickets of parsley that were once the stars of my vegetable garden bolt up and go to seed. Like a moping older sister who loses attention to a new birth (slightly detouring into personal narrative here), they flopped and hung over the side of the garden bed in defeat.
From there: an opportunity.
I find the abundant parsley problem is not actually one. Tamara Adler, who worked her way into Chez Panisse with no formal cooking experience and authored An Everlasting Meal, sums it up perfectly:
I recommend buying a bunch of parsley whenever you can. Then, once you have it, act as children do when handed hammers and suddenly everything needs pounding. […] Whether it is plain, or because it is aged, or because it is there and you want to enhance it, everything needs parsley.
This pesto recipe is a great go-to for a garden bounty, or to save the bunch in your fridge from dying early in the compost. A much cheaper, brighter version of the traditional basil pesto, it will make a summer salad or pasta more interesting, with a much longer season. Instead of garlic, I used the milder, early-summer garlic scapes from my CSA, along with toasted almonds. It went perfectly over a chickpea salad drowned in mint and lemon (and two and a half beers).
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 3 cups fresh parsley, pinched from the stems (I used flat-leaf)
- 2 garlic scapes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup toasted almonds
- Zest of 1 small lemon, and half of its juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil (to start, add to taste)
- 3-4 oz. grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- Remaining lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- Sprouts (I used pea shoots)
- A handful of mint
WHAT YOU DO:
- Soak chickpeas overnight in a bowl of water to speed up the cooking process — save the soaking liquid and add water to it until chickpeas are covered by 3-4 inches.
- Add a heavy pinch of salt, and whatever veggies you have on hand to add flavor (half an onion slowly dying in your condiment shelf? A carrot from the 6 lb. bag? A smashed garlic clove, a bayleaf, and some peppercorns? These all work swimmingly).
- Boil chickpeas for 1-2 hours, or until tender, or 4 hours if not pre-soaked. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, rinse parsley.
- Blanch garlic scapes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes (not wholly necessary, but makes for a smoother pesto).
- Blend all ingredients + half of the oil in a food processor.
- Drizzle in remaining oil while the processor spins (for a thinner, more sauce-like pesto, add a tablespoon of water)
- Toss with cooked chickpeas, lemon, a handful of fresh mint, arugula, and sprouts.
If you don’t want to use the pesto right away, you can store it in an ice cube tray. When you’re ready to use it, just pop a cube or two of pesto into a heated pan and let ‘er melt.