Kombu Pesto

Pesto is a fab extra to add some ‘zing’ to a cheese plate with crackers, kneaded into fresh dough when bread making, stirred into pasta, spread over salmon fillets just before grilling or spreading on toast. The umami (‘the fifth taste’) inherent in kombu/kelp combines wonderfully with the spice of the garlic and tang of the lemon to make it a really different dip. This is also a winner when trying to get vital vitamins and minerals into children!

2-4 garlic cloves
½ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup parsley and/or basil, mixed depending on taste
2 cups spinach, or other mixed greens
1/4 cup snipped dry Kombu
2-3 tbsp lemon juice plus a little grated zest
¼ cup olive oil
Optional: 1-2 tbsp grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

To make a pesto with a fine consistency, ensure the seaweed is crispy dry before you start by putting in the oven on a low heat for a few minutes. If you are happy to have a less blended pesto then you can use the seaweed with a slightly higher water content (this will result in a finished pesto that has larger pieces of kelp which can be seen). A good way to tell if its dry enough to blend well is to give it a bending test; if it bends and does not snap then you will need to pop it in the oven for a few mins if you desire the smoother pesto. Place the crispy dry seaweed in the food processor and blend it. Add ½ cup of cold water and set aside to allow the seaweed to rehydrate a little creating a thick paste. Blend the garlic and pine nuts together. Add handfuls of greens and seaweed and blend further. As you go, add in lemon and olive oil. If desired add Parmesan cheese to taste. Provides 1.5 cups.