Perk up an otherwise average soup by topping it with French-style pesto (AKA pistou). I personally appreciate that it doesn’t contain pine nuts, since I watch my intake of PUFAs (due to their inflammatory qualities).
A cool thing about “Pistou”: The garlic flavor steeps and mellows some when it is crushed with sea salt. The salt draws out the garlic flavor as it brings out the moisture. Kind of “unlocking” the flavor, so it’s not too overwhelming.
You can use a mortar and pestle (old-school style) to make this, but a food processor or blender is handy too. The garlic gets processed with the salt until fine, then basil is added, to puree until pretty smooth. Then the olive oil gets whisked in, along with chopped tomatoes and the cheese. Delicious!
“Pistou” (French Style Pesto)
- 4-6 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 4 c. fresh basil
- 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tomato
- 1 c. grated Parmesan (or other flavorful, aged, dry cheese, like Gruyere)
1. Mash garlic up with salt, or use processor/blender. (A garlic press also works- just sprinkle salt on afterwards, letting the garlic soften for the salt.). Use: > 4-6 cloves fresh garlic > 1/2 tsp. sea salt
2. Let salt work into the garlic for 10-20 minutes, then add fresh basil to the mix and process. (If doing by hand, hand-chop the basil first, until fine.) Use: > 4 c. fresh basil
3. Slowly add plus the olive oil, whisked in slowly until incorporated: > 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
4. Add the tomato, chopped, and the Parmesan (or other favorite). Process until smooth (or leave it more chunky): > 1 tomato > 1 c. grated Parmesan (or other flavorful, aged, dry cheese, like Gruyere)
5. Dollop onto of soups or other fave dishes.