Blueberry and Nettle Pesto

Blueberry and Nettle Pesto Photo; Mikael Eriksson

Blueberry and Nettle Pesto
Photo; Mikael Eriksson

Nordic Pesto

A classical Italian pesto made from olive oil, basil, Parmesan, and pine nuts complements many dishes of grilled fish, meat, fowl, or vegetables.

Here I’ve made two Nordic variations on this nutritious sauce, using ingredients you may be able to pick for free out in the woods. Use gloves when picking nettle shoots to avoid being stung.

Both sauces are freezer friendly if you happen to make larger quantities; this way you can defrost a container at any time and enjoy a taste of summer throughout the year.

Blueberry Pesto

  • 4 1/2 oz. (200 ml) blueberries
  • 1 1/2 oz. (100 ml) Parmesan (or Swedish Västerbotten) cheese, finely grated
  • 1 1/3 oz. (100 ml) hazelnut flour
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch lemon balm
  • 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • about 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/3 oz. (100 ml) cold pressed olive oil

Place all ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Process the ingredients to a paste. Pour in the oil in an even stream while running the processor at full speed so that everything is thoroughly mixed.

Taste to see if you need to add additional vinegar or salt. Transfer the pesto to small jars and keep them in the refrigerator (the pesto will keep for a few weeks). Let the sauce come to room temperature for a bit before serving it to allow the full flavor of the sauce to develop.

Blueberries…

Nettle Pesto

  • 2 cups (500 ml) young nettle leaves or shoots
  • 7/8 cup (200 ml) Italian parsley
  • a scant 1/2 cup (100 ml) basil leaves
  • 7 tablespoons (100 ml) pumpkin seeds
  • 3 1/3 oz. (100 ml), aged Präst cheese (or Havarti)
  • about 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper
  • about 1/4 teaspoon. salt
  • 3 1/3 oz. (100 ml) cold pressed olive oil

Parboil the nettles in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain off the water, but save it and use it to make stock for a soup later.

Place the nettles together with herbs, pumpkin seeds, cheese, and spices in the bowl of a food processor. Mix the ingredients until all the herbs have been chopped finely, and then add the oil in a thin stream through the feeder tube. Taste to adjust for salt. Keep the pesto in the refrigerator, but let it come back to room temperature before serving to let the olive oil become liquid again.

Nettle pesto keeps for a few weeks in the refrigerator, but make sure that it’s completely covered by olive oil to stop any air from getting to it.

These recipes are from Low Carb High Fat Barbecue. You can find all my cookbooks at Amazon, both in hardcover and on Kindle.

Norrsken över Åresjön

Northern Lights over Åre Mountains last week…

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