This emerald pesto is ideal when the weather starts to warm up – the mint adds a springy note while the basil offers a hint of summer to come. Stir it into Maria Speck’s Speedy Chickpea Couscous with Pesto, serve a dollop atop fish or poultry, spread it on crostini or add it to hot pasta. This pesto recipe yields a generous amount. Use whatever you need now, and freeze the leftovers in an ice-cube tray. Once it’s frozen, pop the pesto cubes out of the tray and transfer them to a heavy-duty zip-top bag and freeze up to 1 month.
I first developed this spicy pesto recipe out of desperation with an abundance of end-of-the-season Thai basil (it freezes wonderfully). Now it’s one of our summer staples … especially now that Noemi loves being in on the action. Get creative with this flavorful pesto recipe. Rub it on chicken and fish, mix it into rice noodles, stir-fry some tofu and spicy greens. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle–or don’t want to use yours–just whip it up in a food processor; drizzle in extra lime juice and a bit of water if you need liquid to process.
3 cloves garlic
3 dried Thai chiles
Sea salt, to taste
1/3 cup peanuts
1 tablespoon sugar
2 packed cups Asian basil leaves
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chiles to a paste with a tiny pinch of salt. Then add peanuts and sugar, and pound to incorporate. Handful by handful, add the basil and pulverize completely in between additions. Stir in fish sauce, peanut oil and lime juice.