Practicing locavorism...eating locally grown foods that are in season...can be challenging and downright bleak in the dead of winter in Jackson, WY.
Before I knew it, my shopping bag (canvas, ReduceReuseRecycle, for the record) was filled with organic basil trucked all the way from Oregon, organic spinach from California, and Parmigiano-reggiano all the way from Northern Italy.
The harsh reality remains that it is a long, long, long, winter here in the Tetons in Western Wyoming/Eastern Idaho. We love it that snowstorms begin in October and don't abate until May (or June). We wouldn't have it any other way.
But all this snow has it's price when you live in a valley surrounded by mountains, where a plate of Pad Thai costs more than in New York City. In a town where the basil travels almost a thousand miles in the dead of winter.
The garlic was grown just a few miles from my house, over the pass in Victor, Idaho at Ted Wells' Alpenglow Farms. Once you taste Ted's garlic, you'll never go back.
My new creed: Be a locavore most of the time, indulge your cravings the rest of the time. Sometimes you just gotta have some pesto. Amen.
Basil Spinach Pesto
- 4 cups packed basil/baby spinach or all basil (half and half is good)
- 2 large cloves of garlic or 4-5 small ones, peeled and whole
- 2 oz. parmesan-reggiano cheese, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 cup high quality olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
- Rinse and dry the spinach and basil. A salad spinner is handy for this.
- With the motor running, drop the garlic cloves into the food processor, and process to small bits.
- Add the parmesan chunks and process until no large pieces remain.
- Add the pine nuts and pulse 5-6 times.
- Add the basil, spinach, and sea salt, and process again.
- With the motor running, pour the olive oil in a slow steady stream through the top of the food processor. Process until the pesto is as smooth as you like.
- Slather the pesto on a slice of bread. Taste. Add more salt if you like.