Watercress Pesto

Makes 2 servings

We’ve taken the Italian recipe and transported it into the heart of the British Isles. By taking some elements and substituting them for something from our homeland, it makes a vibrant and fresh tasting sauce.

We 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.

This pesto is good mixed into linguine pasta or used in which to toss some Jersey Royal potatoes 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

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Method

In a heavy pestle and mortar, drop in the garlic clove and some sea salt. Pound until the garlic is puréed.

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 purée.

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.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS

Rapeseed oil has fast become Britain’s alternative to olive oil. In its cold pressed extra virgin form, rapeseed oil is healthy and flavourful. You can find quality rapeseed oil on The Artisan Food Trail from Yare Valley Oils.

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