The "out of the box pesto" I just made (and put in a cute jar) was from "Shefzilla, Haute cuisine at Home". It's a Cilantro pesto recipe and is definitely not run of the mill. It's bright green color and unique flavor can add interest to many dishes. I made the suggested recipe of Shrimp and Cilantro Pizza and it was a winner!
I didn't have an yeast in the house, so I improvised and didn't make the crust from scratch. Instead I used some Indian Tandoori Naan bread from Traders Joe's. I worked very well, but I'm sure homemade pizza dough would be best. The pesto's flavor has an Asian flair, substituting Toasted Sesame Oil for the traditional olive oil, adding fish sauce and my favorite Sriacha for a kick. Keep this on hand in your refrigerator...think of the possibilities, even on eggs!
(Shefzilla, Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home)
1 bunch cilantro leaves and stems, rinsed thoroughly in cold water
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
1/4 c. cold water
1. Bring 2 qts. water to a hard boik and add 1 tsp. salt. Blanch cilantro until tender about 30 seconds. Remove from boiling water and rinse under cold tap water until coll, 10 seconds. Squeeze out excess water and roughly chop.
2. Place blanced and chopped cilantro in container of blender and add remaining ingredients (sesame oil through water) Cover and blend on high until smooth about 1 minute. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Shrimp and Cilantro Pizza
(adapted from Shefzilla, Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home)
3 Tap. Cilantro pesto
1 8 oz. pizza dough portion (grilled) (I substitued pre-made naan bread)
8 poached shrimp (sliced in half length-wise)
3 Tbsp. finely grated Grana Padano (I used Parmesan I had on hand)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Spread Cilantro Pesto evenly on the grilled pizza dough. Top with Poached Shrimp, Cheese and red pepper flakes. (At this point, I did put mine into the oven to toast it up a bit) The recipe doesn't call for reheating....your choice.
I learned a few things I didn't know about cilantro. It is very healthy for you. Cilantro is detoxifying and can actually remove heavy metals from your system! Check out this article...very interesting! http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/
If you want to try a more traditional cilantro pesto, here is another version. Enjoy!
3/4 c. fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 c. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
Put all ingredients in the food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.