When life gives you winter… (WINTER PESTO)

February 18, 2009


Of course basil looks like hell, it’s winter! And i love basil, I really do, but it is one of those things that literally reeks of summer and is therefore best saved for those months that end in -une, -uly, -ugust and -eptember. At that time it will take over flowerpots, markets and menus with its brilliance. We can brainstorm 101 things to do with basil, and I look forward to it.

This does not mean that in more dismal months one cannot enjoy a fresh, healthy, bright green pesto sauce. Really! It only takes a few slight adjustments and voilĂ , we are dressed for the season. In the following recipe, I did not use parmesan cheese, a traditional pesto ingredient, but feel free to blend in 1/4 cup for added deliciousness. Also, use your creative chef license and substitute other wintry herbs for the ones I chose.

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley, packed
20 fresh sage leaves
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1/2 shallot, roughly chopped
1/2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup walnuts
1 teaspoon wine, rice or cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. If this is too many greens for your appliance, process half of them and then add the remaining leaves on top. Process again and season to taste.
  • Makes 1.5 cups of pesto
Let the brainstorms begin!!! Top 15 uses for this or Any-Time-of-Year Pesto:
  1. On toasted bread that is smeared with a little goat cheese (I took down almost a whole loaf this way)
  2. As a dip for fresh vegetables
  3. Tossed with hot, cooked pasta
  4. Mixed in with cooked rice for a lovely ‘green rice’ side dish
  5. Drizzled over roasted spaghetti squash
  6. On a roasted rack of lamb
  7. Mixed into cous-cous with a few chunky vegetables
  8. As dressing for a chicken salad (with or without added mayo)
  9. Topping for most any fish
  10. Inside a fish taco
  11. Garnish on a pureed soup
  12. Over beets
  13. On top of a hearty minestrone soup
  14. Tossed with potatoes before or after roasting
  15. In an omelette/scrambled eggs
What else…?

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