Wild Garlic Mustard Pesto

by Sarah Owens


Bread has basically replaced all carbs in my life and is often a staple of my meals.  I am constantly stirring up new and versatile accoutrement with which I can adorn my bread.  And because I am a professional gardener as well as a baker, it seems prudent to make the best of seasonal, fresh, and abundant ingredients: enter the hated garlic mustard.  

 

Alliaria petiolata or garlic mustard is a detested noxious, non-native weed in the Midwest and North East.  

Alliaria petiolata or garlic mustard is a detested noxious, non-native weed in the Midwest and North East.  

Garlic mustard has become a serious ecological threat to our established woodlands, upland and lowland forests, and can also be found in disturbed areas.  Unlike ramps, a coveted seasonal item, there is no danger of over-harvest.  This exotic European species is a member of the Brassicaceae family, otherwise known as the mustard or cabbage family.  Harvest early for tender leaves and don't forget to pull up the nasty tap-root to save your forests!  If you find it in late April, the dainty and familiar cruciform flowers can be added to salads or used as a garnish.  Just make sure you're collecting in an area where the soil has not been tainted by pollution. You are what you eat!

RECIPE: 

3.5 C Garlic Mustard 
1 C Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 C Toasted Walnuts, Pepitas, or Pine Nuts
1 C Olive Oil
2 Small Lemons (juiced)
5 Garlic Cloves 
1/2 TB Salt

Toast seeds or nuts in a pre-heated 350F oven for 5-10 minutes.  Soak and thoroughly clean garlic mustard, discarding stems and any large leaves that might be bitter.  Pack leaves into your measuring cup and add to the bowl of your food processor along with all ingredients.  Pulse the ingredients until consistent.  Serve with your favorite bread, toss with pasta, dress potato salad, or use as a sauce for pizza!

Garlic Mustard Pesto smeared on BK17 Lumberjane Loaf.

Garlic Mustard Pesto smeared on BK17 Lumberjane Loaf.