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Robin Garr

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RCP: Asparagus-cilantro pesto with walnuts

by Robin Garr » Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:45 am

Yeah, I know, cilantro is the herb that people love to hate. In this recipe its flavor gets lost, though, surviving as a taste-tempting lemony tang that also alters the asparagus beyond recognition, turning the combination into something completely new and different. I made this a few years ago but couldn't find the recipe, so I did it again from memory yesterday and am posting this time. :)

Asparagus-cilantro-pesto.jpg
Asparagus-cilantro pesto with walnuts
Asparagus-cilantro-pesto.jpg (75.5 KiB) Viewed 725 times

Take a bunch of fresh asparagus and snap off the bottoms, cut off and set aside the tops. Cut the spears into one-inch lengths and simmer them in salted water just until they are tender. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water, and then put the cooked pieces into the Cuisinart.

Then add a bunch of fresh cilantro and maybe 1/2 cup of walnuts to the processor with maybe 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano. A smashed garlic clove or two (I like to temper it by heating, not browning, in a little oil); kosher salt, tellicherry pepper, a few tablespoons of good, fruity olive oil, then buzz until it’s a puree, but with plenty of texture remaining. If it’s too thick, stir in a little leftover asparagus water until it’s about the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Meanwhile cook linguine, farfalle or your choice of pasta while simmering the asparagus tips until crisp-tender. Drain and portion the pasta, top with a scoop of the pesto, and garnish with asparagus tips, simmered separately until just crisp-tender.
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Jenise

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Re: RCP: Asparagus-cilantro pesto with walnuts

by Jenise » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:52 pm

That's a gorgeous dish, Robin, thanks for posting--great timing since we're on the brink of asparagus season locally. (For us in the PNW anyway: cold winter, so will be late, but it WILL be here.)

Btw, speaking of pesto, isn't it wonderful how many different things work as a pesto base? I made a pesto out of mustard greens for St. Patrick's Day.

OOOOOOOOH, and this would be a great use for some basil oil I bought. That brand--long French word starts a T, can't think of it, Tourangelle or something close--that makes the roasted nut oils I'm crazy about now have a basil oil in their line, and I like it.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Louisville, KY

Re: RCP: Asparagus-cilantro pesto with walnuts

by Robin Garr » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:58 pm

We're having a nasty spring here too! Global warming is a terrible thing, and we're not even getting to enjoy one of its few benefits. ;) I think we'll surely snap into it in another week, though.

As for pesto, yes, for sure! I found a long time ago that it is one of the best possible ways to eat a bunch of kale. And I like combining ingredients, too, like kale and basil, or this dish, which is definitely going into my rotation.

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