I used to say that fall was my favorite season, with it’s colorful painted leaves and crisp edge to the air. And, that’s still true, sorta. There is one week in the fall that is my favorite. It happens, often but not always, around the 12th of October. The rest of the fall is not so great. But if we only have four seasons, then the fall is still my favorite because of that week.
Now that I’ve been living outside the big city for several years I’ve come to see that we do not just have four seasons, we have more like 35 micro seasons, most of which happen between March and November.
There is the one in June in which the summer’s first berries start to glow like gems and a thick cloud hovers over the fields every morning. There is the one in late August when it is so hot that the air feels like baseboard heat at six in the morning and the tomatoes are warm on the vine by breakfast. Then there this one. The one that is happening right now. This micro season yields loads of asparagus and foraged wild greens like dandelion.
By adding some vinegar and salty cheese, the bitterness of the dandelion is balanced and makes a great spread on crostini or as a sauce for your favorite pasta. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate this micro season for exactly what it is and has to offer. -IK
Makes about 1 cup
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups dandelion leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
With the motor running, drop the garlic through the tube of a food processor and let the garlic bounce around until it is finely chopped. Stop the food processor and add the pecans, cheese, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then pulse to finely chop. Add the dandelion and pulse to finely chop. With the motor running again, pour the oil into the tube of the food processor until it is all added and the pesto is smooth. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste.
To use the pesto in pasta, combine it with about 1/3 cup of pasta cooking water to loosen before tossing with the cooked pasta.