Nasturtiums are a sweet flower with a mild heat; I would describe them almost as a honeysuckle combined with horseradish. Right now they are everywhere in my neighborhood. Seriously, they grow kind of wild, and you’ll see them a lot on the side of the road. I usually have them in my garden, but when I re-planted some things in the fall, they accidentally got taken out. For this recipe, I had to borrow my Nasturtiums from my friend Justine (I swear I didn’t just climb into her yard and take them To Catch a Thief style, though I will take any opportunity to call up memories of Grace Kelly and Cary Grant).
Kim Schiffer first showed me this recipe, and like most pestos, it’s not exact. The more nasturtium flowers you add, the more nasturtium flavor you’ll get, so feel free to experiment until you get the ratios you like. This recipe will make enough dip for a veggie platter, and I like it tossed in pasta as well. Enjoy!
2 cups of Nasturtium flowers, cleaned and dried.
1/2 cup of freshly grated or chopped Parmesan.
2 small cloves of garlic
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup of olive oil
A good pinch of salt
A pinch of red pepper flakes
Wash the nasturtiums thoroughly, making sure to check for any little “friends” that might be living in them. No joke, I’ve found beetles, bees, and snails in mine before—they are just garden flowers, you know.
Reserve a few of the gorgeous flowers and leaves for garnish. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and pulverize until you get a good pesto texture. Season with salt and red pepper to taste.