When we mentioned cilantro pesto on one of those occasions of abundant herbs, someone asked, “What the heck do you do with it?” Dot it on a cornmeal crust as the base for a Mexican-style pizza. Use it as the binding sauce with basil pad thai noodles and shrimp. Make it an intriguing twist in a corn-and-chile omelet. Flavor the cheese of choice in any stuffed pepper. Spread on a toasted baguette topped with slow-roasted tomatoes. Golly, keep going!

Cilantro Pesto
Makes about 1½ cups

Crazy big bunch of cilantro (2 to 3 ounces), washed and coarsely chopped, stems and all
6 scallions, trimmed and coarsely chopped, both white and green parts
2 hot green chiles (any kind), trimmed, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons peeled, chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Put all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor, fitted with the metal mixing blade.
  2. Whir until all the ingredients are mixed and mostly smooth. Drizzle the olive oil through the feeding tube while running the motor. Stop drizzling when the pesto reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Store in a tight container not much larger than the amount of pesto. It will stay bright green for an afternoon, but not longer.

Cook’s Tips and Tricks: Pesto freezes well in half-cup portions. It might not be as bright green, but it’s still a nice treat mid-winter.

—From Picked at the Peak by Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.

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