Supergreen watercress pesto
Alice Angeloni shares her experience of a green gift.
I was having a lunchtime hīkoi along the Taruheru awa last week when a kind man stopped me with a smile and asked if I would like some watercress. He handed over a huge bag of the fresh, green goodness that had come straight from the bush. I couldn’t believe my luck. I walked back to the office, with a grin of my own and no idea what to make. A friend suggested pesto.
2 cloves garlic (more garlic gives it an extra bite)
A big bunch of watercress. Enough to fill a one-litre blender cup, without being packed in. (basil, or a half basil/half baby spinach combination works too)
A generous dollop of olive oil
A handful of roasted cashews or your preferred nut
Salt and pepper (adjust as per taste)
Squeeze of lemon (adjust as per taste)
Wash and clean the watercress thoroughly and and discard the thick stems. Once done, dry using a cloth.
Put the garlic and cashews in a blender. Process until both are chopped and have formed a roughly textured meal.
Add the watercress and olive oil in the blender. Pulse until the mixture has formed a paste.
Add more oil as you go if needed. You might need to take the blender cup off and give it a stir, or a few good shakes in the process.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse again to combine everything really well.
Less blend time will leave you with a chunkier pesto.
Serve up mixed through pasta, with crackers or as a delicious side.
To keep the pesto from going brown, add more olive oil as the oil coats the cut leaves and protects them from oxidation.