Because I grew lemongrass in my garden this year, I’ve been focusing on using it as much as possible in Thai as well as non-Thai dishes. This lemongrass seems mild to me, but it has a lemony flavor, and I’m determined to use it all up.
Last night I dreamed about using lemongrass to make a pesto. (I can’t be the only person who gets foodie inspirations while sleeeping!) Of course, I’m using the term pesto in the loosest way. It contains nuts and herbs, but I changed things up a bit.
To keep with the Asian theme by including lemongrass, I also used ginger and garlic. Then, I used basil, cilantro and chile peppers*. The nuts? Pine nuts. They’re used in Asian cuisines, so I’m still keeping with the theme!
If I did invent this stuff, I can die happy. And I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything similar on blogs or in cookbooks. But it is so good I plan on making a lot of it and sharing.
If I had any reservations about this pesto, it was that the ginger, being raw, might taste too strong. But fortunately, it didn’t.
The resulting pesto-looking mixture was fabulous on this butternut squash soup – almost like how a gremolata perks things up a bit. But the pesto would be great smeared on chicken breasts, pork, even fish. The possibilities for using it are endless. Here’s what I did.
Pine nuts, toasted
Garlic cloves, peeled
Lemongrass bulbs, peeled and trimmed
Chile peppers (mine were mild)
Place the toasted pine nuts in a blender jar.
Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and chile peppers.
Add olive oil until it covers the ingredients.
Blend until smooth.
Add the cilantro and basil and blend again.
Store in the refrigerator, or freeze until later use.
* The chile peppers I used were Nardello peppers. They’re not very hot, but add good flavor.