"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
I looked in the fridge and saw a bunch of wilting Cilantro.
I actually almost always see wilting Cilantro in the fridge, since it comes in large bunches and I never use enough of it. I was going away for a few days, so I went upstairs and handed the bunch to Rena, my generous host.
“Here,” I said, “I’m not going to use this.”
“What should I do with all of this cilantro?” She replied.
“I don’t know, make pesto?”
One thing led to another, and I made a batch of cilantro pesto in her kitchen.
Pesto is a very personal condiment, each person likes it a different way. The guidelines for this recipe came from a good friend of Rena’s, but I didn’t make it with exact measurements.
One bunch of herbs makes a decent amount of pesto, but if you want more, just use more ingredients. If using wilted herbs, just take out any slimy bits.
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves removed and stems discarded
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed – or more, pretty much to taste
a good amount of olive oil
a decent amount raw or toasted pinenuts, to taste – you could also use almonds or another nut
(optional) grated Parmesan cheese – any hard cheese will work
Food processor or blender
Add cilantro leaves to food processor or blender and blend as much as you can without adding anything else.
Push down around the edges with a spatula. Add some pinenuts and slowly drizzle in olive oil, continuing to blend, until pesto starts reaching the desired consistency.
Push down with a spatula again. Add crushed garlic, blend, and taste. Add more if needed.
Play around with pinenutes and olive oil until the pesto is ready. Keep tasting, don’t worry about salt, you’ll be adding cheese. I like it very well blended, with a strong herby taste, not to oily and nice and thick. If the cilantro leaves aren’t blending enough, you probably need more oil. If it becomes too thin, add more pinenuts.
When it’s ready, transfer to a bowl (or container, if storing in the fridge). You can either mix in the grated cheese at once, or mix it in to small batches, right before you serve it. If you won’t be using it for a while, freeze it in an airtight ziploc bag.