Now is the time for one of the more pleasant tasks of the summer – making pesto to freeze for the winter.
I had intended to do a comparison of two varieties of basil and their resulting pestos. I started from seed, nursed and set out 20 (more or less) plants of each variety. Pinching the plants back to encourage bushiness, I sat back smugly to watch them grow. A few days later I went to check on them and discovered all the new growth had been eaten. The plants looked so miserable and I doubted that they would recover. So I bought some plants of unknown pedigree and tucked them in among the pathetic sticks that were my beautiful starts. Of course, the original varieties recovered, but now the nameless plants are among the special varieties so the pesto taste test will be postponed until next year.
The upside is that my basil is yielding heavily. I harvested 8 cups of leaves yesterday and made two batches of pesto to freeze, saving some for dinner ( fresh salmon spritzed with fresh lemon juice, spread with pesto and baked…yum!). I put the pesto in ice cube trays and when it is frozen remove the cubes and place in freezer bags.
So here is this year’s recipe. It is last year’s recipe with some tweaks courtesy of The Best Recipe from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
Pesto is a tonic in the winter, when the fog has settled in for days and the garden is covered in darkness both when I leave for work and when I get home. A little winter surprise and a reminder of green summer in the monochromatic season of rest.