Southern Style Pesto
1 pound bunch collards, Swiss chard, kale or greens in season (stems, ribs discarded)-leaves roughly chopped
1/4 cup pecans-toasted (or other nuts)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives (or other favorite type) Or pimiento
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
1.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice water bath. Blanch collards for 1 minute until bright green, then plunge into ice bath to shock. (You can reserve the water if you are making pasta or boiling shrimp to go with your pesto).
2.) Pat greens dry with paper towel and then transfer them to a food processor.
3.) In a dry skillet, over LOW heat, toast the nuts until fragrant (being careful not to burn). Transfer to the food processor, along with parmesan, olives or pimiento and garlic. With the processor closed and running, add olive oil through the top slowly until pesto is blended well and “comes together.” add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
Serve over pasta (with a small amount of pasta water to loosen up the pesto or over steamed or grilled shrimp chicken, salmon or meat. Also good as a topping for bruschetta, added to soups or stews or added to meat sauce for lasagna. This stores very well in small containers or ice cube trays in the freezer.