Make this in late summer when cilantro is bursting out of the garden, and freeze in ice cube trays for serving-sized portions to use all winter long.
Recipe adapted from Cilantro Pesto in The New Basics, Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.
- 2 cups cilantro leaves, washed & spun dry
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place the cilantro, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, processing until smooth.
- Add salt & pepper. Pulse once or twice to mix. Taste & adjust seasonings.
- Transfer to a covered container for refrigerator storage, or to ice cube trays for freezer storage.
Yields about 1/2 cup pesto.
- I like my pesto pretty garlicky; the original recipe calls for 3 cloves garlic.
- It’s hard to find local substitutes for olive oil or lemon juice. If you’d like to experiment, try cider vinegar in place of the lemon juice. Melted butter really won’t work in this case as a substitute for olive oil. You need something to allow the cilantro & garlic to bind together. You could try some local heavy cream (start with 1 tbsp at a time) for a slightly different flavor, but it may cut down on viable storage life, even in the freezer. Use dried, ground local chile pepper instead of black pepper.
Up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Three to 6 months in the freezer. Freeze serving-sized portions in ice-cube trays (wrap in plastic wrap and freeze overnight), then transfer to a doubled Ziploc to prevent freezer burn.
Fresh cilantro is often available at farmer’s markets year-round, but this will taste best when made with cilantro at the height of the season in late summer and early fall.