Hello, summer. This week’s solstice was accompanied by torrid temperatures, finding us limp from the heat and as wilted as the garden. Luckily, a couple of pestos residing in the fridge gave us components for two quickly assembled and improvised dishes, no small thing when the weather is stuck in the 90’s (degrees, that is, not the decade) and cooking is the furthest thing from our minds.
Broccoli with Garlic Scape Pesto & Toasted Almonds
We haven’t had much luck with growing broccoli, so when we come across it at the farmers’ market, we greedily snatch up masses of it. With inspiration from Heidi’s market salad and some garlic scape pesto already made, a satisfying dish came together speedily: Divide the broccoli into large florets, with some stem left attached; peel the stems if they’re large or seem fibrous. Steam the broccoli until it reaches desired tenderness, and toss it while still warm with a couple of scoops of garlic scape or other pesto. A handful of toasted sliced almonds adds some crunchy texture if, like me, your attention wanders to cooler places and the broccoli ends up on the soft side. Serve warm or cold, depending on the weather, accompanied by a luscious burrata bought for the occasion, and explain that the Italians prefer their vegetables well-done.
Cannellini Bean Spread with Sage Pesto
We usually have some cooked beans on hand, whether in the fridge or stored for later in the freezer. Before the heat hit, I’d simmered up a pot of cannellini for another dish, but they proved the perfect foil to a leftover batch of herbacious sage pesto: Process a cup or two of cooked white beans with a generous scoop of sage pesto, adjusting amounts to taste. For a creamier texture, add a splash of water or pot liquor from the beans, but not so much that it’s too soft to spread. We had this slathered on a fresh, crusty baguette, and topped with some festive slivers of sage. Alternatively, dispense with the bread and eat straight up by the delicious spoonful.
There you have it, two ways of using pesto and neither of them pasta. If you are whipping up a batch of garlic scape or sage pesto, make sure there’s extra to keep in the freezer. Because eating well doesn’t have to end when summer does.
Local ingredients: Cannellini beans from Meadow’s Mirth; sage from the garden.