This Pesto Might Just Be Weird Enough To Work
Pesto is the perfect condiment. It’s cheap, fast and usually pretty healthy. The best part about pesto is that you can make it with just about any herbs or greens you have in your kitchen. The classic Italian version has crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves and Parmigiano-Reggiano, all blended together with extra virgin olive oil. But, basil doesn’t have to be the gold standard of herbs when it comes to pesto.
For an adventurous and umami-packed twist on the classic, try making seaweed pesto. This year, there’s been a rise of sea vegetables available in supermarkets and on restaurant menus. Consumers have started to seek out seaweed more and more. It’s full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (which build protein). For an added bonus, the fiber content of seaweed can actually help you feel full on fewer calories.
Bon Appétit reports on Chef Jason Fox, the chef at San Francisco’s Commonwealth, and his seaweed pesto that “gives an unexpected umami burst.” In the article, Fox says you can pick up toasted nori sheets at the supermarket and quickly rehydrate them in water for a minute. He suggests blending the nori sheets with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
Another pesto recipe gets a little more elaborate with the ingredients and suggests using kombu (a type of edible kelp) with roasted pine nuts, minced garlic, basil, arugula, EVOO and lemon juice.
Pesto is a term that can be used pretty liberally. You can experiment with all kinds of herbs and green veggies like cilantro, spinach, parsley, mustard greens, peas or dandelion greens. The word pesto comes from the Italian word “pestare,” which means to pound or crush. If you crush any greens with garlic, nuts and cheese and blend it all together with olive oil, you can just call it pesto. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford pine nuts, then almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts can work when you’re looking for that crunchy element. Depending on what kind of greens you use, your pesto will take on a completely new life.
SEAWEED PESTO PEOPLE. GET ON IT.