Thursday, March 24, 2011

My new favorite pesto - Cilantro Pesto

If you recently bought a bunch of fresh cilantro for a recipe, you probably also realized quickly that you used just a couple sprigs and now have an almost full bunch of fresh cilantro left. Fresh cilantro makes a big difference in a recipe so I always buy the fresh bunch when a recipe calls for it rather than using dried. Then I have to cook with cilantro all week to actually use it all up - which is pretty difficult ... until now!! I bought the bunch of cilantro originally for the Thai Peanut Noodle Salad I made with my friends last week - until I could figure out what I was going to do with the rest of the it I put the stems in a cup of water in the fridge (to help the bunch last longer).

In the summer with my tons of bunches of basil I make lots of fresh pesto, and so the same thought came to mind with my cilantro. This may be my new favorite recipe idea - and it's so versatile, which makes it even better.

Cilantro Pesto
2 cups fresh cilantro (almost an entire bunch)
1/4 cup almonds or walnuts (I used a mix of both)
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 TB red onion, chopped
1 TB lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp. salt and a couple grinds of fresh pepper

This is an easy two-step recipe. Put all of your ingredients, except the olive oil, in your food processor and blend!
It'll look a bit like tabbouleh until you add the oil.
While the food processor is still going, slowly add the olive oil through the hole on top of the cover and you're done! It should be a beautiful creamy bright green color.
TIP: If you aren't planning to use your cilantro pesto right away, here's what you can do - make cilantro pesto cubes! I needed to use my bunch of cilantro but wasn't planning on cooking with it right away so I made these and put them in the freezer to use later. Make sure you line the ice cube tray with plastic wrap so that you don't stain your trays. It will also make your clean up so much easier. If you're going to use them in a few days you can just leave them right in the tray, but make sure to place a layer of plastic wrap over the top so it doesn't get freezer burn. If not - let the cubes freeze overnight and then take them out the next day, placing them in a plastic freezer bag. Then, when you want to use some of your cilantro pesto you can just take as many of the cubes out as you need!

You can also use this tip for making "ice cubes" out of other sauces and pestos - basil pesto, spinach pesto, tomato sauce, vodka sauce. Really anything that you might not use the whole recipe of that is a sauce-like texture can use this technique for later use.

Tune back in tomorrow and I'll show you the first recipe I made using my cilantro pesto cubes!

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