Spicy Asian Pesto

Makes about 16 ice cube-size cubes

One of the tastiest and most versatile discoveries we made recently was Spicy Asian Pesto. It bears little resemblance to the standard Italian version that's made with basil, walnuts (or pine nuts) and olive oil. This Asian version is a combination of basil and Chinese parsley (coriander) which give it a bright green color. Peanut oil and sesame oil are used instead of olive oil. I make mine fairly spicy by adding some chili peppers, but you can adjust the spiciness to your taste by reducing or increasing the amount of chili peppers shown in the recipe.

When fresh basil is in season, I make up a large batch of this in my blender and freeze it in plastic ice cube trays. After the cubes have frozen, I remove them from the tray and make packages of 2 small cubes wrapped in plastic and then in aluminum foil. They'll last through the winter.

Preparation:

1 cup washed basil leaves (loosely packed)
1 cup washed coriander leaves with most of the stems removed (loosely packed)
1-2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (seeded and roughly chopped)
3 large cloves garlic (peeled and inner green sprout removed)
1" fresh ginger (peeled and coarsely chopped)
2-3 TBS lemon juice

Serving:

Spicy Asian Pesto is used as a condiment in the same way you would use Italian Pesto -- a little bit goes a long way. To keep the bright flavor and color of this pesto alive and vibrant, it's best to add the pesto to the main dish after it is cooked. It's fine to cook with it, but it will loose its bright green color when cooked.

Here are a few ideas for using Spicy Asian Pesto. All of these are perfect for a quick and light Sunday Supper served in bouillabaisse bowls:

Velvet chicken breasts, Chinese noodles and snow peas:

Grilled shrimp on a bed of salad greens:

Pizza topping:

Oriental minestrone soup:

Notes:

˝ cup rice vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS sake
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS chopped garlic
1 TBS ginger
1 TBS shallots
1 TBS chopped green onions
salt and pepper to taste
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