Stonehouse Zhug Pesto
One of the most delicious, versatile sauces you can make! This pesto has a spicy kick from a spice blend that originates in the Middle East. Each day it gets better and better.
- 4 cups cilantro and/or basil leaves, large stems removed, washed and patted dry (Floursack towels are amazing for this!)
- ½ - ¾ cup Stonehouse House Blend or Olio Santo EVOO
- 1 Tbsp Zhug spice blend
- 1 or 2 cloves or garlic
Peel, crush and steep the garlic cloves in a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, or light vinegar to soften the bite of the garlic. Using a mortar and pestle is the easiest route. (You can also omit this step as the blend contains garlic.)
Wash and pick the cilantro and/or basil while the garlic mellows. Then place all ingredients - starting with just ½ cup of olive oil - in a blender or food processor and pulse into a paste, incorporating more oil to desired consistency. It should be like pesto. Presto! That's it!
Keeps well in the fridge for a week or so - if it lasts that long - and gets better over time, really.
- Use arugula or parsley instead of cilantro; substitute some of the House Blend with Basil or Persian Lime oil, to add another layer of flavor, or use bolder Reserve or Estate EVOO, for more of an olive oil kick.
- Use ¼ cup walnuts, pine nuts, hemp or chia seeds as a thickener.
USES & SUGGESTIONS:
Traditionally used as a condiment with falafel, Zhug Pesto is excellent on the American equivalent, hamburgers, slathered on any grilled meats or vegetables, on roasted potatoes, in sandwiches, hummus, tacos, burritos, or as a garnish for soups.
Make the night before - its more relaxing to pick the cilantro while you're watching a show or chatting after dinner - then use it liberally all week. Zhug pesto is much better the next day and continues to develop complexity all week long. Once you've made it a few times you can knock it out in no time, 15 minutes, and dress up any dish. Ive served it several nights in a row and everyone fights over it, as it tastes better each day. Few have heard of it, but everyone will love it.
Photo credit: Erin Scott.