Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Basil and Mint Pesto

Have you ever bought a bunch of herb, used it for one thing and didn't know what to do with the rest?  My co-worker recently gave me mint leaves from her garden.  I used them for drinks and salads but still had some left.  I love fresh herbs, but the thing is that you can't eat them like you would a salad.  Herbs are used a little at a time as a garnish or as an accent, and even though the recipe calls for eight leaves of fresh herbs, you have to buy a bunch (I used to have fresh herbs sitting in my refrigerator until they went bad and sadly thrown away.)  Pesto is the perfect solution to use up leftover herbs, such as mint, coriander, basil and parsley.  Since mint has a strong flavor, I combined it with basil.  You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.  Just make sure to cover the pesto with olive oil to reduce the air contact.  If you intend to freeze some of it, which I often do, omit the cheese and put it in a ziplock and squeeze out as much air as you can.  Lay it flat in the freezer and it'll freeze into what I call a "pesto board."  This way, it is very space efficient, and you can simply break off and thaw as much as you intend to use.

~Basil and Mint Pesto with Tilapia~

  Basil and Mint Pesto Print Recipe

1/4 cup pine nuts *
1 cupfresh basil leaves, packed  
1 cupfresh mint leaves, packed
1 clovegarlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cupolive oil
2 tbspgrated parmegiano reggiano (optional) *
a pinchsalt

  1. Roast the pine nuts in the toaster oven for 3 to 4 minutes at 400 degrees until they are golden brown (take care because pine nuts burn easily).  Take them out from the toaster oven and cool down.  Alternatively you could toast the pine nuts in a pan over the stove.
  2. Add the basil, mint, garlic, pine nuts and salt in a food processor and pulse several times.  Slowly add olive oil while the food processor is on.  Turn off and scrape the sides as necessary.   
  3. Add the cheese and pulse a few times to combine.  Season with salt.

Yields about 3/4 cup

* You can substitute pine nuts with walnuts, and parmegiano reggiano with pecorino romano.