Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Pesto

It’s the first week of June and I’m happy to report that my garden looks spectacular this year.  My usual rule for planting, like many others, is to wait until after May long weekend before putting anything in the soil.  This year I was a rebel and planted everything a full week in advance. Already, beautiful herbs adorn the boxes in the greenhouse, strawberries are about to turn hints of red, and the onions planted 2 weeks ago are ready to be sampled. 

Short of using a bit of onions and chives here and there, this pesto officially marks my first garden recipe of the season.  Basil is something that I use often in the kitchen, so often in fact, that I save a small fortune in the summertime when I can grow it myself.  It’s a staple ingredient in many different sauces and bisques that I enjoy making through out the year.  

With the taste of basil in the forefront, homemade pesto is a great way to showcase this wonderful herb.  It’s really quick and easy to put together - boil some noodles and you’ll have dinner on the table in no time.  I also really enjoy pesto as a dip for fresh vegetables, as a marinade for chicken or seafood, or drizzled on top of spaghetti squash - another gardening favourite.

- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil 
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Traditional Method: Combine basil, garlic, salt and pepper, and pine nuts in a mortar and pestle, mashing until you make a paste.  Add parmesan and olive oil, mixing well to combine. Add fresh lemon juice.

Modern Method: Combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan and pulse in a food processor until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper. With the food processor still running, add olive oil in a light stream until emulsified. Add fresh lemon juice.  Allow pesto to marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour before serving to allow the flavours to meld.

Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.  Pesto can be frozen for later use, just omit the cheese as it doesn’t freeze as well.


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