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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Watercress Pesto


I was inspired by the very Britishness of rapeseed oil and thought it would be good to make a very British pesto. As you can see from my recipe below I have used watercress (grown in the UK, of course) instead of basil and the usual pine nuts have been replaced with hazelnuts. To complement the fresh green and peppery flavours, I found a hard, but creamy goat’s cheese, originating from Cornwall.

I prefer to make pesto by hand as it gives a much better texture. There’s something to be said for bruising the flavours out of the leaves rather than just chopping everything up in a food processor – I’m convinced it enhances the overall flavour.

This pesto is good mixed into linguine pasta or used in which to toss some Jersey Royal potatoes then served along side a good piece of poached salmon.


Ingredients
1 large fat clove garlic, peeled
50g watercress leaves, thick stalks discarded
25g whole blanched hazelnuts
25g hard goat’s cheese, grated
75ml extra virgin, cold pressed rapeseed oil
sea salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper

Method
In a heavy pestle and mortar, drop in the garlic clove and some sea salt. Pound until the garlic is pureed. Add the watercress and keep pounding, then add the hazelnuts and bash them until they are well broken down and combined with the watercress. The mixture should resemble a medium textured puree.
Tip in the grated goat’s cheese and work in to the puree with the pestle. Drizzle, the rapeseed oil, a little at time, and work into the rest of the mixture. It’s best to add the oil gradually so that you can control the consistency of the pesto more easily.
The end result should be relatively creamy in texture. If it’s too thick, then add more oil.
Finish off with a good grind of fresh black pepper and stir in.

To read my Tried and Tasted review on
Love Farm Rapeseed Oil click HERE

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