Regardless of when the date on my lease is, or when I got my Oregon plates, or when I paid my very first city-imposed arts tax (arts tax, people!), home doesn’t happen overnight. Transplanting is a slow, simmering affair, and eventually, you realize you can wander for blocks and blocks without getting lost. You find yourself having a real, solid friend to grab Sunday patio beers with. You visit the last place you called home and catch yourself, without hesitation, saying the h-word in reference to somewhere new.
That’s a long way of saying I feel more and more at home every day. It’s swell.
That’s also a long-winded way to tell you I found sorrel at the market. I’d seen it occasionally throughout winter, but just because I didn’t jump on it immediately doesn’t make it any less exciting. I ate and foraged sorrel as a kid in Lithuania — I remember my mom telling me that you can tell sorrel apart from other plants because of the way the bottom of the leaf angles downward toward the stem, like an earlobe.
The most common use for it there was a creamy, tangy soup. Green borscht, basically, made with buttermilk and/or sour cream, cucumber in the chilled version, hard-boiled egg, and plenty of dill.
I’ll definitely make it sometime, and post it here alongside some nonsense about what home means, but for now, I wanted to do something else. I’d never cooked with sorrel before myself, but its tangy flavor is familiar, and it happens to be perfect for a mild, bright, springy pesto. Paired with peas in a carb-heavy setting with a little lemon zest and a good handful of fresh parmesan, it’s a thing of beauty.
As for the green garlic, that’s just me showing off my farmer’s market. I hope that’s not too obnoxious — a clove of regular garlic will do just great. A cool thing about green garlic is that you can use pretty much the entire stalk. Whatever isn’t too woody to chew is fair game. But in this case it’d be too much, so we’re saving the green parts for something else. Throw it in soup! Put it on your grilled cheese sandwich! Fight vampires with it!
As for me, I’ll be home. You know… Home. Where maimed pigeons get rescued from busy intersections by concerned Portlanders. (I saw this happen earlier and it was everything one could ask for. Especially the pigeon.)
- 1 lb dried tortellini pasta
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- Additional parmesan and/or chives, for topping
- 3 cups roughly chopped sorrel leaves
- 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 stalk green garlic, white part only (alternatively, 1 medium clove garlic)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup olive oil (or more, for desired consistency)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- To make pesto, combine sorrel, almonds, parmesan, garlic, and lemon zest in food processor or blender and pulse until you get a smooth paste. Then, with the blade running, slowly add the olive oil until you get the consistency you'd like. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- To make pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pasta and cook for as long as indicated on the package (or to your desired texture). Remove from heat, then add peas and immediately drain. Toss pasta with desired amount of pesto (I used about half of it) and serve immediately topped with parmesan and/or fresh snipped chives.