Friday, May 18, 2012

Purple Shisho Pesto Recipe

I bought this amazing purple shisho at my neighborhood farmers market the other day.  We have green shisho plants growing all over the yard, but I had never seen purple.  It's a beautiful herb, often referred to as japenese basil.  So it was perfect for a pesto.  If you've never heard of shisho you should check this link out.  It has a nice overview of how to grow it and what you can do with shisho.  It's super easy to grow, and does great in containers if you don't have much space.

This was also my first time making pesto.  It seemed easy enough, but for some reason I just kept buying those little expensive jars at the supermarket.  But not any longer, here is what I did...

INGREDIENTS : 4 oz. shisho, 4 garlic cloves, salt, 2 tbsp parmesean cheese, 1/4 cup olive oil
STEP 1 : I roughly chopped up a small bunch of shisho (about 4 oz. or so) and 4 garlic cloves, and added pinch of salt.  Using a pestle and mortar, I ground it up into a paste.  You could also use a food processor for this.
STEP 2 : I transfered the paste to a bowl and gradually stirred in 2 tbsp of parmesan cheese (you could use more cheese of course!).  Then I mixed in 1/4 cup of olive oil. 
And that's how easy pesto is!  We couldn't wait to eat it so I cooked some pasta, drained it and threw in a little more olive oil to coat the noodles.  I added about half the pesto for a meal for two.  It was amazing!  Especially with a big chunk of italian bread.  I think I might make a little pesto pizza with the rest. 
I can't wait to make a big batch of pesto this summer when all our shisho grows in.  I'd like to try experimenting with other herb combinations too, maybe throw some oregano or savory in with the shisho.  It's an easy way to preserve the herbs and still keep that fresh taste!

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