Thursday, June 18, 2009

basil and garlic scape pesto, with an elaborate presentation

Do you ever fiddle around with food, preparing multiple parts of a dish, only to realize you've just spent an inordinate amount of time on something that doesn't really even count as a full meal?

Oh. Maybe it's just me, then.

Moving right along . . . We got a little bunch of basil, yielding maybe a loosely-packed cup, from our CSA this week. Not enough to really make pesto with. But we also got a generous clump of garlic scapes, and together, I thought they'd make a great pesto. I shelled a couple of walnuts and tossed them in the processor, followed by 3 or 4 coarsely chopped scapes and the basil, adding a little olive oil to loosen it up. I added a few pinches of salt and some parmegano reggiano, and scooped it into a jar. Lovely.

But what to eat it on? Pasta? Yawn. How about polenta? But I apparently am incapable of making it and leaving it alone. I made my oven-baked polenta, then stirred in about a cup of grated romano cheese. I scooped it into a loaf pan and let it solidify.

Somewhere along the way, I realized I had a few mushrooms that my mom had brought me, and they weren't getting any fresher . . . . so I chopped those up and seared them in olive oil with a little salt.

Once the polenta was (almost) solid -- almost because I ran out of time -- I (washed the processor and then) processed up a couple of slices of pain de campagne from several days ago to make crumbs. I dipped the polenta slices into a an egg beaten with a little salt and a couple tablespoons of milk, and then into bread crumbs. I baked them at 400 for 20 minutes, flipped them over, and baked for 20 more minutes.

But really, does fussed-over polenta topped with fungus and elaborately-wrought weeds mushrooms and pesto really constitute a meal? No, I didn't think so either.

So I threw together a salad, with scallions, radishes and beautiful lettuce, dressed with a lemon juice and olive oil vinaigrette. (Um, is it still vinaigrette if it doesn't contain vinegar? Clearly, one for the ages.)

Know what? It's a good thing I have an indulgent spouse who puts up with this kind of thing for dinner. The fact that it tasted beyond fabulous probably had something to do with it.

(As you can see, the camera situation is getting pretty desperate around here. I have *got* to upgrade.)


Christine/Origami Mommy said...

Looks really good! I had never heard of scapes until reading your blog!
Have you decided what kind of camera you might get? I have and love my Canon DSLR, but a friend has a point-and-shoot that gets fabulous pictures. I wish I were in the market for one so I could get hers. You can see her photos at and she has her camera model listed there.

Tall Kate said...

Thanks for the info, Christine!

I really think scapes and basil are made to go together in pesto, particularly when you don't really have enough basil. I did it again today and was equally pleased with the results.