Monday, October 5, 2009

Almond Arugula Pesto – About as Subtle as a Shovel to the Face

This short, but very green video recipe for an almond arugula pesto, shows you one of my favorite uses for the ubiquitous bitter green. I like an arugula salad as much as the next guy, but it's also nice to use the peppery green as something more than a lettuce.

Arugula is also quite a beautiful herb. Fragrant, spicy, crisp; it makes one hell of a good pesto. I paired it with raw almonds for a combo that was just amazing on the grilled hanger steak you can see here. Subtle it's not, but that's okay sometimes.

I know the conventional wisdom with most sauces is that they should compliment the main ingredient, not overpower it. Here, that simply does not apply. Not only does this sauce overpower whatever you serve it with, it obliterates it completely. But, it works!

I've posted the ingredients below, but I beg you not to measure as you make this sauce. This is one recipe that should come out slightly different every time you make it. If that seems like a strange statement, you may be missing one of the most important aspects of cooking – the rewards of randomness.

As you make this pesto, your subconscious will take over, and any variations in the final product will magically benefit whatever your eating this with. Of course, like most of my best theories, I can't prove this.

As I mention in the video, when shopping for the arugula, try and get some fully-grown leaves. That mild, ultra-baby stuff make a nice safe salad, but for a sauce like this you want the dangerous, fully developed flavor of the more mature leave. I hope you give this easy recipe a try. Enjoy!



Ingredients:
Large handful of arugula leaves, blanched
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup raw almonds
4 cloves garlic
salt to taste

15 comments:

Fiber said...

Sounds super simple but looks extremely tasty! Can't wait to give this a try!

Jen said...

Saw your Tweet and thought it was Chimichurri. Looking at the ingredients here, it's not very far from a chimichurri either. Looks good whatever the name!

Birder said...

This looks daringly, nay, dangerously, amazing! But you need an editor, Chef John. Let me know if you're in the market for one. Special rate (read: free) for the chef who provides me with knowledge and entertainment on a quasi-daily basis.

Chef John said...

thanks, but what terrible bit of grammar drove you to your editor offer?

rosemary said...

The last statement. I hope you give this easy recipe and try. Enjoy!

Chef John said...

oh, maybe I should fix that

rideandcook said...

That looks so good, and kick ass pesto is so easy and satisfying. My favorite is with broccoli rabe, but I will try this soon. Just found your site and I love it.

jessicarotolo2001 said...

Hey John... even though you stated that parmesan is not needed I'd still like to add in. When in this process can I do this?

Chef John said...

at the end. enjoy!

Chef John said...

at the end. enjoy!

Gabriela said...

I’m reading a book about medieval cooking in ancient Catalunya (1300 - 1400), and I found a recipe just like this. The only difference is nuts instead of almonds, and a few drops of honey or other medieval sweetener. They used it on fish (rays) and meats. I will definitely try it. Thank you very much for your blog.
Gabriela

Beth said...

Made it, loved it, definitely slather-worthy! Will certainly make this again.

Beth said...

To do this with dandelion greens, do you think they would still need blanching?

ladyslipper said...

Curious on another pesto recipe of yours I watched this weekend you used a mortar and pestle. Can that method be used for this recipe as well? My neighbor gave me some young arugula in a pot and I did not care for the leaf I tasted. Perhaps I will let the leaves get bigger and try your pesto. Will it stay green because of the blanching?

Chef John said...

Yes you can, and yes, it should stay green!