Lion’s Tooth Pesto

2007.Sep.02 Sunday · 5 comments

in Casa SaltShaker, Food & Recipes

 But what a witch is Spring! Into the great cold city of stone and iron a message had to be sent. There was none to convey it but the little hardy courier of the fields with his rough green coat and modest air. He is a true soldier of fortune, this dent-de-lion — this lion’s tooth, as the French chefs call him. Flowered, he will assist at love-making, wreathed in my lady’s nut-brown hair; young and callow and unblossomed, he goes into the boiling pot and delivers the word of his sovereign mistress.”

– O. Henry, Springtime a la Carte

Fresh fettucini with dandelion pesto

Buenos Aires – It was not a matter of substitution, basil was available, if a trifle expensive at the moment. It was not a matter of experimentation, there was no need, no impetus. It was simply a matter of late winter… early spring… caprice.

Caprice… An impulsive, often illogical turn of mind… a bee, a boutade, a conceit, a fancy, a freak, a humor, an impulse, a megrim, a notion, a vagary, a whim, a whimsy…. the thesaurus is verbose on possibilities… a megrim?

Really, it wasn’t all that illogical, it was simply that my usual verdulería had got in a crate of dandelion greens, the first of the season, and as I’d been thinking of making a winter pesto, and suddenly, there, spring had sprung, it was on to a pesto primavera – not to be confused, at all, despite its use of freshly made fettucini noodles, with the much maligned and completely inauthentic dish we think of as pasta primavera. Couple that – a large bunch, not the entire crate – with a delicious sheep’s milk cheese I’d picked up that was nice and firm and ripening nicely, a handful of garlic cloves, pinenuts, salt, pepper, and olive oil, and voila!, there you have it, the makings of a delicious, slightly bitter-edged, dandelion pesto.

Now, if only I’d had the camera on macro setting…

Saratica September 3, 2007 at 13:51

Yummy! We are big pesto fans. Alas, pine nuts are almost impossible to come by. In fact all nuts but macadamia are prohibitively expensive. Macadamia pesto anyone?

dan September 3, 2007 at 14:47

I’ll trade you for macadamia nuts any day – no one here has even heard of of them! Pinenuts are expensive here too, but available, and you can get relatively good ones at the Armenian/Middle Eastern markets.

Scarlett September 4, 2007 at 22:01

No! That photo was great! I could almost, not quite but almost, smell the garlic .

Jill Brazil September 11, 2007 at 19:41

I love dandelion greens! Last week at Whole Foods I actually wondered if I could make a pesto out of the beautiful dandelion they had! And now you have answered my question! Instead I made a fantastic pesto out of fresh cilantro, fresh mint, garlic, fresh lemon juice, toasted pinenuts, and toasted walnuts. No cheese. It was delicious! I used it to coat a rack of lamb! Next day on pasta!

dan September 11, 2007 at 19:44

Sounds great!

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