I missed the lowland blossoming of big-leaf maples, but now that it's morel time in the foothills I get another crack at the floral, slightly sweet blossoms. Maple blossoms can be added to salads, sautéed, or even used to make pesto. I blended equal portions of maple blossom and fresh mint from the garden to make this simple pesto. The rest of the ingredients are standard. Adjust as you see fit. The amounts below make enough pesto for two.
Maple Blossom-Mint Pesto
1/4 cup maple blossoms
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/8 cup olive oil
scant 1/8 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper
For the rest of the meal you'll need the following ingredients:
8 large sea scallops
several large morels, halved
1 dozen stalks of asparagus, trimmed
1. Make pesto in food processor.
2. Saute morels and asparagus in butter and olive oil over medium heat, turning carefully with tongs, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Season scallops with salt, pepper, and paprika. While morels and asparagus are cooking, saute scallops quickly in a separate pan with butter over medium-high heat. Finish with a splash of sherry. Allow sherry to cook off and make sure to get a crisp edge on the scallops.
4. Spread a dollop of pesto on each plate. Arrange scallops, asparagus, and morels over pesto with a garnish of chives.
After plating the meal, the scallops will slowly release their juices, mixing with the pesto to create a colorful sauce. The touch of sherry goes well with the pesto's hint of floral sweetness, and this in turn is balanced nicely by the earthiness of the asparagus and especially the morels.