Stonehouse Zhug Pesto

Stonehouse Zhug Pesto

Stonehouse Zhug Pesto

One of the most delicious, versatile sauces you can make! This pesto has a spicy kick from Zhug, a spice blend originating from the Middle East. 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.
 
INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups cilantro and/or basil leaves, large stems removed, washed and patted dry (Floursack towels are amazing for this!)
  • ¬Ĺ - ¬ĺ cup Stonehouse¬†House Blend¬†or¬†Olio Santo EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp¬†Zhug spice blend
  • 1 or 2 cloves or garlic (optional)
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime juice or splash of light vinegar (optional)

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 of most of the toughest stems - some of the tender stems of cilantro are fine to leave.¬†Then place all ingredients - starting with just ¬Ĺ 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!

‚ÄčKeeps well in the fridge for a week or so - if it lasts that long - and gets better over time, really.
 
VARIATIONS: 

  • 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 ¬ľ cup walnuts, pine nuts, hemp or chia seeds as a thickener.

USES & SUGGESTIONS:

Use this pesto to make:

This recipe is great to 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 even 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. We've served it several nights in a row and everyone fights over it. Few have heard of it, but everyone will love it.


Photo credit: Erin Scott.  

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