Spring is finally here and after so many grey, dark and wet months of British winter, nature is rewarding us with the most wonderful colours and smells. Pink cherry blossom trees combined with the smell of fresh wild garlic, sunshine and birds singing – it’s like waking up after a very long sleep. With wild garlic on my mind and the recent discovery of samphire, which is naturally very salty, I thought I’d combine the two in a pesto recipe. Samphire is a very rich source of calcium, which is the main reason why I’ve been promoting it to my kids, but no luck, they weren’t having any of it – until they tried the pesto. Because of the naturally salty taste of samphire there is zero added salt in this recipe and while we love it with wild garlic it also works very well with rocket once the wild garlic season is over (or try using a bit of both as rocket seems to give it a particularly vibrant green colour). Serve with your favourite pasta, use it for sandwiches (I love it with avocado and sliced tomato) or spread it on crostini as a base for delicious and very attractive canapés (top with halved cherry tomatoes, avocado, pepper, tofu cubes, almost anything goes).
What you need:
140g samphire – thoroughly rinsed with cold water
Small handful of wild garlic (8-10 leaves) or 2 handfuls of rocket (or 50/50) – washed
1 garlic clove (two if you’re making it without wild garlic) – peeled and sliced
40g pine kernels
3tbsp of good quality, organic olive oil (plus a generous splash for frying)
500g of your favourite pasta
How you do it:
Boil a large pan of lightly salted water for your pasta.
Thoroughly rinse the samphire with cold water to reduce the saltiness a little.
In a frying pan heat up a generous dash of olive oil, then add the samphire.
Add the pasta to the now boiling water and cook for 10-12mins or according to the instructions.
Fry the samphire on low to medium heat for about 2mins before adding garlic and pine nuts for a further 2mins - stir frequently to prevent the garlic from burning.
Transfer the samphire/ pine nut/ garlic mix to a food processor, adding wild garlic, tofu and olive oil.
Blend everything until you get a smooth, vibrantly green paste, scraping it off the sides of the food processor once or twice.
Drain the pasta and mix it with your pesto, adding a little more olive oil if necessary.