GOD-DESS

Simple! Sensible! Sensational!®

June 2004
© 2004 by Bret S. Beall

EARLY SUMMER PESTOS

Do you think of pesto as a delicious basil paste (with other ingredients) generally tossed with cooked pasta? I urge you to expand your thinking! Not only are you limiting your choice of ingredients, but also your options for applying the pesto(s) in so many other ways! Start pesto-ing today for quick and easy summer satiation!

ASIAN PESTO

A few years ago, when I was able to buy large volumes of cilantro at ridiculously low prices, and had to find ways to use it, I came up with this flavorful recipe. With minimal fat from the nuts (good for you!) in the initial version, it’s also very healthy (and the minimal fat in two of the variations is unsaturated).

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a blender; blend until smooth, stopping the blender often and using a spoon to force the leaves into the blender blades. To facilitate blending, it may be necessary to add up to 2 T cold water. This pesto freezes well for a year. This recipe will yield about 12 servings.

Variation I: substitute fish sauce for the lime juice, or just add fish sauce for a more fluid sauce.

Variation II: add ¼ c tahini (sesame paste).

Variation III: add 2 T toasted sesame oil.

Adaptations:

As a sauce for pasta or rice: Use about 1 T of pesto per serving of pasta or noodles (1/4 lb pasta/noodles prior to cooking) or cup of cooked rice.

As a sauce for meat/poultry/seafood: Pan-sear/fry your favorite meat/poultry/seafood. Place on a plate, drape with the pesto and served with a nice steamed veggie.

Alternatively, you can prepare your meat/poultry/seafood to just under its desired doneness; remove from the pan and cut into bit sized pieces; deglaze the pan with 1 T pesto and 1 T water per serving; when pan is deglazed, add the meat/poultry/seafood back to the pan with the pesto and all the sauce to form a glaze over the meat/poultry/seafood. Still alternatively, these pestos work great over broiled, grilled, boiled, poached or braised meats/poultry/seafood. You can also use the loosened pesto as a pool or bed for whatever you might want to place on top of it.

As a sauce for vegetables: Sauté, steam, boil, grill or roast your favorite veggies, and sauce them with this pesto as a main course or a side dish or an appetizer.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER PESTO

Many Asian and Latin cultures share a love of cilantro, so I experimented with the Asian Pesto recipe to create this simpler, but equally healthy New World version:

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a blender; blend until smooth, stopping the blender often and using a spoon to force the leaves into the blender blades. To facilitate blending, it may be necessary to add up to ¼ c cold water. Use about 1 T of pesto per serving of pasta or noodles (1/4 lb pasta/noodles prior to cooking) or with 1 c cooked rice. This recipe will yield about 12 servings. This pesto freezes well for a year.

Applications: This pesto can be used as a replacement for the Asian Pesto in any of the applications listed above.

PESTO BUTTER

Instead of serving regular butter to go with bread during a meal, make a batch of pesto butter. It’s easy, flavorful and sure to be a hit. Usually, I don’t go for “compound butters” as ingredients for recipes, because it is usually just as easy to add the ingredients individually without blending them. However, when the compound butter is the star, I say, “Go for it!”

Using a fork, mash the butter and pesto together in a dish. When fully mixed, transfer the compound butter to a serving dish and refrigerate. Leftovers can be refrigerated for later use, transferred to and wrapped in a sheet of plastic wrap for freezing for a couple of months, or tossed with some hot, freshly cooked pasta for a quick meal. Additionally, some individuals like to use pesto butter on seared/grilled steaks, chops or roasts, but since I rarely eat big hunks of meat, I’m not inclined toward this application. I have been known to put some of this pesto butter on a nice pan-seared salmon (or other fish) fillet, or to use the compound butter to deglaze the pan to make a nice complex sauce for the fish or other seafood (like pan-seared scallops!). Try serving this butter with excellent bread at a party; your guests will be quite surprised (and impressed)!

I had planned to offer a newly-created recipe for Arugula Pesto, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with options (and you do have hundreds of options, variations and applications above). Let me know if you need any more options by calling 773.508.9208 or email me. Thanks, and Happy Pesto-ing!

 

 

 

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