The little window box herb garden I planted over the summer with basil, thyme and parsley needed a good pruning. So, while I’m cultivating my parsley, as one does on a Sunday night after dark, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount that made it’s way into my colander. I don’t use parsley that much, so it’s anyone’s guess why I planted it in the first place. It’s my alternative to cilantro, even though people give me funny looks when I compare the two [I use it in fresh salsa and in vinaigrette dressed potato salads (which I made zero times this year)]. As I’ve fallen down the pinterest black hole as of late, I decided to consult those internet strangers who help mold my life’s purpose, for some recipes featuring parsley. What I got, was a lot of ‘add parsley to this’ and ‘garnish with that’, and a whole lot of pesto recipes [but, really, I already knew that's where this was heading]. I was doubtful that I liked parsley enough to be used as dip, sauce and drizzle, but a large bunch of flat leaf parsley and an inability to waste food, forced my hands to pull out the food processor. And you know what? Parsley pesto might even be better than basil pesto, I’m just putting that out there.
There were a ton of pesto recipes that I found, and most of them different [honestly, I probably have enough parsley to try a fair few of them] but, I wasn’t particularly excited until I found this one, with one of my favorite key words, ‘balsamic vinegar’. This pesto has more of a bite than it’s basil-based brother. The balsamic and garlic is a potent combination, but it definitely helps balance out the qualities of parsley that are not my favorite. I was impressed. Like I said, I’m not the biggest parsley fan, but that didn’t stop me from imagining this pesto on a wicked grilled cheese.
Parsley Pesto with Walnuts
1 1/2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley, picked of major stems
1/2 cup toasted walnuts*
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. warm water [as needed]
1. Before use, wash parsley and pick leaves from stem; a few small stems are fine.
2. In a food processor (mine is a mini 3.5 cup processor) pulse ingredients first, then puree until smooth. If you find your pesto is dry, add a tablespoon of water at a time, until desired consistency. [Parsley naturally has less water than basil, so the pesto will be thicker and more spreadable than traditional.]**
3. Add more salt to taste. Store in a jar, or airtight container. Enjoy on pasta, on bread, by the spoonful, or with various roasted vegetables [e.g. mushroom, zucchini, tomato, eggplant].
*You could substitute almonds, or [more traditionally] pine nuts. Toast nuts in dry skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
**Unfortunately, pesto is one of those recipes that you really need a food processor for. You could, theoretically, use a blender (though if you do, you may want to double the water) , but, as someone who only recently joined the processor club, I can tell you [from humiliating, and time consuming experience] that it will be extremely difficult and trying. I don’t even have a full-sized one, they are monstrous. I started with a little Proctor Silex $15 1.5 cup capacity, until I dropped it, and the top cracked just enough so that food comes flying out of the side (this is in not in any way a comment on it’s quality, just on my butterfingers); I have since upgraded to the slightly larger capacity ‘Kitchen Aid’ brand, that I bought for around $35. But, if you are thinking about buying a mini processor, I recommend one that will hold 3+ cups, so that you don’t spend hours staring from recipe to food processor, scratching your head, wondering if all the ingredients, will fit as written (they won’t).
Adapted from cowenparkkitchen.com