My radishes in my Spring garden have gone to tops. With all of the rain we’ve had recently and not enough sun, only a few of my crunchy spicy roots have actually formed bulbs.
I wasn’t too sad as I knew I was going to use up the vibrant green tops above ground.
I was thinking about braising my greens with another seasonal vegetable, throwing them into a tart or even sauteing them with breakfast potatoes. However, I never thought about radish top pesto until I asked the Spain in Iowa Facebook fans for ideas.
A brilliant idea it was as my head started turning with what I could add to flavor the pesto. Garlic scapes were on the top of my mind as I had just purchased another bundle of green garlic with it’s scapes attached at the farmers market.
As the garlic bulbs are forming larger below, the scapes start to form and swirl in at the top of the stalk. Farmers cut them from the stalk above allowing the bulb to mature below ground. The scapes have a delightful mild garlic taste and are a great addition to any savory dish.
I was blessed as the farmer I purchased these from left the scape attached to the larger bulbed green garlic. I was a happy girl.
What I love about pesto is that really… you can add anything you want to it. As long as you add a nut (raw or roasted), some good aged cheese and olive oil…. you can experiment any which way you please.
For this variation, I opted to include aged goat cheese from my local farmers market. They were curds of cheese much like Feta, however, not as dry. The cheese was perfect and the flavor shone through. For nuts I added hazelnuts and to add a bit of freshness, a few tablespoons of fresh mint and lemon juice.
The flavors melded beautifully. I’ll be able to use this in a variety of recipes including pasta (I’m thinking with seared scallops), on bread, as a marinade or homemade pizza. The list can go on.
With many more radish tops in my garden, I’m going to make a few more batches of this pesto and preserve them in pint jars in the freezer as it freezes well.
Radish Top Pesto with Garlic Scapes and Goat Cheese
- 2 packed cups of radish leaves (Since I had tiny radish bottoms, I included them as well to give it an extra bit of spiciness.)
- 4 garlic scapes
- 1 green garlic (optional)
- 1/2 cup aged goat cheese (I used goat cheese crumbles, Feta would work great as well)
- 1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
- 3 tbls fresh mint
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tsp celtic sea salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. In a food processor add the radish leaves and tiny bits of radish bottoms (or 2-3 small bulbed radishes). Pulse 2 to 3 times.
2. Add the garlic scapes, green garlic, goat cheese, hazelnuts, mint, lemon juice and sea salt.
3. Start the processor and through the top, feed the olive oil slowly until you reach a consistency you desire. I used a 1/2 cup (thicker consistency). For a thinner consistency use between 3/4 to 1 cup of olive oil.
That’s it, super easy and you’ll be able to use the pesto in a variety of recipes. It will keep fresh in the fridge in a pint jar or container for a week or so and usually keeps longer if you pour a bit of olive oil to cover the top.
If you’d like to preserve it for longer use, freeze it. It keeps well for a long time. Buen Provecho!
Do you have any other suggestions for radish tops? I’d love to hear your thoughts.