Linda Diane Feldt is someone I know both in real life and online. A long time ago she and I were tweeting back and forth about ways to use the invasive weed garlic mustard.
Pesto was one of the ideas I found online, and there were a lot of recipes for garlic mustard pesto. I noticed last week that the garlic mustard was going again in my yard, and thought, “It’s time. I need to do this.” I am one of the subscribers to Linda Diane’s serialized cookbook on foraging and cooking with foods from nature. I planned to do this over the weekend, and when I saw her at an A2B3 lunch meeting last week, I picked her brains a little before I started. She said it’s perfectly fine to use any regular pesto recipe, just cut back a bit on the garlic to make up for the extra garlic flavor from the herb.
Since it is a weed and very invasive, I have no problem with just pulling it up by the roots, so I yanked a bunch out and brought them in. (I quick wished I’d broken off the stems outside and left the dirt there. I’m new at this, and didn’t think it through. I’ve done little bits of foraging since I was in middle school, but I’ve never actually pulled something out by the roots before, I always tried to protect the original plant.) Like everything you bring in from outdoors, rinse it off before using it.
I pinched the leaves off the stems, and discarded the flowers. I don’t know if you need to discard the flowers, Linda Diane would know.
Here are the leaves!
In addition to the leaves, of course, there were a few other ingredients. I saw a recipe for pesto that used walnuts, and I adore black olive-walnut paste, so thought I’d try that instead of pine nuts.
4 C garlic mustard leaves
1 C grated romano
1/2 C chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 & 1/2 cups olive oil
Blend all ingredients together. Do NOT skimp on the olive oil. I tried. It went to an unmanageable gluey paste in the bottom of the blender.
I haven’t tried this yet, but it smells delicious. In the meantime, I am freezing one icecube tray of pesto, and had enough left over for 2-3 servings.