Traditional Italian Basil Pesto is made up of an iconic family: Italian basil (many people assume this to be the one and only type of basil), pine nuts (nearly as expensive as pearls), and Parmesan, (basically a brand in itself). Coming from that sort of lineage, how could Italian Pesto not be delicious?
Spicy Thai Pesto grew up on the other side of the train tracks. Thai Basil’s licorice scent didn’t attract too many of the ladies and Thai chilies don’t necessarily play well with others. But smoothed out by the cool nature cilantro and mint, this pesto starts out cool and fresh, packs heat. So for those of you not wanting to bring the heat, scale down your chilies. Many would say a pesto without cheese is sacrilege, but I didn’t find it to detract from the overall taste. I didn’t even use peanuts this time, only because I did not have any. But they would add body to the mix, and add filler to stretch your pesto further.
This Spicy Thai Pesto is a smooth, cool operator at the beginning, but be careful – he bites. Use this pesto as a spread for crackers and sandwiches, a dip for fresh veggies or bread, or a marinade for fish and chicken. When traditional pesto is too stuffy or too overdone, Thai Basil is sure to “kick it up a notch”.
(And it is good 'til the last bite...as the photo shows. Couldn't capture it before I ate it all!)
Spicy Thai Pesto
1 cup thai basil, roughly chopped and packed
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
2 green onions, finely sliced
4 Thai chilies, chopped
½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped (optional)
½ tsp sesame oil
1 T salt
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup olive or canola oil
1. Prep all ingredients.
2. Put ingredients into blender, food processor, or mortar. Blend (or grind with pestle) until smooth.
3. Eat immediately or save in fridge until later.
Makes about 1 cup.