Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shiso Pesto

When you hear the word "pesto," what comes to mind? Do you immediately think of Basil? For most of us, our first taste of pesto was probably of the basil, garlic, pine-nuts and Parmesan cheese variety, but did you know - the term "pesto" can be used to define any combination of ingredients that have been pounded or blended together. The fiance and I have enjoyed trying different combinations of things in our homemade pesto, and this post is about our newest discovery - Shiso Pesto!

Shiso Pesto
If you don't know what Shiso is, it's a leaf commonly grown in Asia. It comes in both purple and green varieties, but the green seems to be more common in the United States. You might have seen it at Japanese restaurants, or in your little box of take-out sushi. Shiso has a strong smell, and the taste is unique. It's been compared to both mint and basil, but I have to say I don't think it has the taste of either. It is quite earthy and refreshing, definitely worth experimenting with if you see it around or want to try growing it yourself.

The recipe below is the result of my searching for a way for my future mother-in-law to use up the leaves of the giant Shiso plant she has in her garden. I came across this recipe from Summer Tomato, and decided to test it out on on zucchini "noodles" for dinner the other night. We loved it!!

Zucchini "fettuccine" with Shiso Pesto sauce.

Shiso Pesto (makes 15-20 servings, can be frozen)
- 4C tightly packed Shiso leaves
- 1/2C Raw Pistachio nuts
- 2T Miso Paste (any variety will work)
- 1 Garlic Clove, pressed
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 3/4C Olive Oil

- In a blender or food processor (I used my VitaMix), combine all ingredients. Reserve about 1/4C of the olive oil.
- Pulse until ingredients are evenly ground.
- Turn blender to "on" and drizzle the remaining olive oil in while the ingredients combine.
- Taste, and adjust salt and lemon to taste, if needed.
- Use immediately, or store in the fridge for a couple days. If you still have leftovers, use your ice cube trays to freeze the pesto in blocks. Once they're solid, pop them out and into a freezer-safe container. You'll have "fresh" pesto for months!

What's your favorite type of pesto? Care to share the recipe in the comments below?

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