Pesto Power

It’s not just for basil.

With the spring we’ve had wild cilantro growing up a storm.  It’s all over the place… growing in between the sidewalk, in the front flower beds, trying to strangle the strawberries in the back.  (#2 is jealous!) We’re not entirely sure where this cilantro came from– it’s growing somewhat differently than the kind we planted a few years back that used to regenerate.  This stuff tastes a bit better than our regular stuff too.  It’s fresher and brighter somehow.  Of course, cilantro at the restaurants has also had that extra brightness so maybe it’s just the weather.

Anyway, cilantro, like parsley, tends to start out, then shoot up, then flower, then disappear after it’s gone to seed.  It’s not like basil that you can mostly leave alone, only pinching off the flowers when you think of it (that then makes new little basil seedlings if you never get around to removing the flowers).  Basil lasts all summer in one form or another.  Cilantro must be used!

And cilantro is great in fresh salsa, but that doesn’t use up the bounty that we’ve got.  (#2 says, also fresh guacamole)

But there’s always room for pesto.  Pesto is awesome with basil, but cilantro pesto is surprisingly tasty.  As is parsley pesto.  I’m sure there’s a ton of herb pestos I haven’t tried that are equally wonderful.  (We don’t pesto our mint, but instead make tea with it.)

Here’s a recipe:

2 or more cloves garlic
3 tbsp or more nuts (I like walnuts)
4 tbsp or more Parmesan cheese
1 large bunch fresh leafy herb of your choice (give or take)
1/3 cup olive oil (or enough until easy to blend)

Whiz the garlic and nuts in a food processor. Then add Parmesan and leafy herbs. Process until a coarse puree. Pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth.

#2’s recipe calls for a lot more leafy greenness and puts the things in the food processor in a different order, but I have a bit of trouble getting the whizzing going when I use that recipe. Really it doesn’t matter how much of each ingredient you use and when you put it in, as long as you like the consistency.

Serve over pasta, with fish or chicken, on pizza, instead of mustard on a sandwich… whatever your heart desires.

Or freeze in ice cubes and pop out later when your abundance of leafy herbs is but a blissful Spring memory.

Confidential to you know who you are:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , . 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Pesto Power”

  1. First Gen AMerican Says:

    How did you know it was babci’s birthday today…it really is.

  2. Niki Says:

    This is a great idea. I can’t wait until things actually start growing around here. It was snowing all day yesterday, ughh.

  3. Frugal Forties Says:

    Mmmm pesto! I have made sage pesto before (a little strong, but great on a turkey breast), rosemary pesto, cilantro pesto, and even kale pesto. I don’t recommend the last – the kale gets a little stringy.

  4. Linda Says:

    I got motivated last fall and made pesto with a bunch of the basil still growing. I put it in the freezer, and there it still sits. I love the idea of pestos, but I don’t seem to use them much. Or maybe it’s just my usual freezer issues: I’m great at filling the freezer with food, but not so good at using the food in the freezer.

    Enjoy your Spring! Here in Chicago it is taking a while to shift out of winter. (Of course, that’s usually the case.)

  5. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I love cilantro. Must grow some. I once had an experience with a runaway herb– mint. But that was in my old house. I tried again and FAIL.

  6. Molly On Money Says:

    We grow as much as we can in the summer and spend all day making as much pesto as we can. I alway froze it in small snack bags but I like the ice cube trick!

  7. pvcccourses Says:

    Cilantro pesto is a great idea. Just recently, too, I saw a recipe that substitutes chard for the green stuff. Haven’t tried it yet, but since there’s more chard out there in the garden now than a horse could eat, I plan to!

  8. 101 Centavos Says:

    Pesto is good stuff. Anything green and tasty. Or red and tasty, for that matter. We have some red kale that’s been trying to bolt, I’m going to have to do something with it in the next couple days.

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