SPRING ON A PLATE
By Rossitsa Boycheva
Don’t we all just love spring?
Our weary bodies and sun deprived minds are craving the warm weather, the lush greenery and the explosion of flowers it comes with.
For me, as a cook, it brings an abundance of wild edible greens which are diverse in taste, bring tons of flavor when added to different dishes, and can be fried or stewed or even baked. I love spinach and fresh salads, onion and garlic, sprouts, but my favourites are rocket salad, dock leaves and nettle.
I have a little friend who lives next door. Her name is Kalina, which translates as a ladybug, and the two of us love going for long walks by the river Yatra together.
This is the perfect spot to pick dock and nettle, too. My little friend loves hopping along and telling me stories from her day at the kindergarten, and I teach her the names of the edible greens we pick.
We feel lucky when we spot the village stork for the first time this year. This means we can hang our “martenitsi” on the branch of the plum tree, which has blossomed in its full nearby. “Martenitsi” tradition is unique for Bulgaria and in this article you can find out more about our custom: http://www.adventureflair.com/what-is-martenitsa/
We come back with armfuls of green bunches which I am going to turn into my favourite pesto. We also baked fresh whole-wheat bread for our afternoon snack of pesto spread with slices of tomato on top.
I love Italy so I gave it an Italian name. It is perfect as a spread or with tagliatelli. Here is the recipe for …
Rossi’s Pesto Primavera
The ingredients are:
200 gr dock leaves
200 gr nettle
200 gr spring onion
200 green garlic
200 gr walnuts
200 gr pecorino cheese or Bulgarian yellow cheese “kashkaval”
2-3 spoonfuls of sunflower oil
*olive oil and salt to your taste.
Chop the spring onions and the garlic and sauté them in the sunflower oil. Wash the dock and nettle thoroughly, cut them not too finely and add them to the pan. Do not overcook! 2-3 min are more than enough. Remove the pan from the hot plate and wait for the mixture to cool. Transfer to a big jar and add the walnuts and cheese, a splash of olive oil and salt. Use a blender and turn the mixture into a smooth paste.
You can store it in your fridge for a few days but I doubt it will last there long as this is soo delicious. This is what everybody who has tried it says. Enjoy it with your loved ones or as a secret treat!