|Let's plate this dish!|
Looks good, huh? This light Sunday evening supper couldn't be easier, especially if you can pick your own basil fresh from the "garden"... in this case, our light set-up where we've been growing parsley and basil all winter... and cilantro and occasionally lettuce. Nothing fancy, but it does keep us in fresh herbs, and they are easy to grow. You can see the basil, below, and being part of the mint family, they grow air-roots in that "tropical" condition under the dome, and when I trimmed off the tops, I just added a little extra soil and BOOM! I am on my 4th cutting here. Totally worth it. We put a timer on the lights, so aside from daily visits we only have to feed and water. One of our friends cleaned out an attic last fall, and guess what was up there... bat guano... that's right BAT SHIT! Awesome fertilizer!
Below is a fresh parsley leaf, in the same sort of tray as the basil, but grown without the dome once it had germinated.
A large basil leaf.
These are the ingredients. A pile of fresh basil leaves with some parsley, a handful of toasted walnuts, and about 3 cloves of garlic. I got the pink plastic bowl at my friends' moving sale, and I use it all the time! The size is great and it holds a lot.
I use a mini-food processor, which I love, and start with the basil. I put a little in at first, then added the garlic and the rest of the basil, then the walnuts.
I didn't show in any of the photos, but we also added sea salt and of course extra virgin olive oil to make the pesto smooth. My husband can't eat dairy foods so our pesto doesn't have Parmesan cheese in it, therefore the salt is very important! I added a good teaspoon. As for the amount of oil, most recipes use quite a bit, but we tone it down and go heavier on the vegetable matter.
As you can see below, the pesto is more of a spread than a sauce, but this is how we like it, and I highly encourage you to fix it how you prefer. That is the beauty of the kitchen and sharing food and laughter and good company. It's all good... unless you leave out the salt!
Perfect for a light meal any time of day. You can see why you really don't need an exact recipe to make pesto. I've also made cilantro pesto with toasted pumpkin seeds and garlic, and it was splendid. If the herbs are fresh, and you have some seeds or nuts to toast, and some fresh garlic, making herbal pesto is the quick, easy and healthy way to go.
Growing basil, cilantro or parsley is easy to do, and even one tray can provide you with an amazing amount of fresh herbage for meals. This is the tray of parsley -- it's a jungle in there! You can even buy small light set-ups for single trays. We have an 8-tray rack, but we used to start seedlings for sale... might again, but not this year. Do what you can, you will love the tasty results.