key elements of a pesto, herbs, grated cheese, olive
oil, garlic and pine nuts, form the base for an
unexpected salad, with tomatoes and cucumbers
providing refreshing support.
once sparked wars, paved trade routes, built fortunes. Even
now, a whiff through the perforated plastic lid evokes
distant lands, terrible plunder, sacks of gold.
might explain the spice-rack back bench. What modern kitchen
lacks an ancient tin of paprika, aged nub of nutmeg or
dust-crusted container of cumin? Few. The herb and spice
stash though faded to flavorless serves up respect.
commands restraint even after resupply. Like the picture
frame or flower girl, the herb sprinkle is tasked with
enhancing not upstaging the main event.
when a dish flouts the rules, its a thrill.
pesto salad. Not salad garnished with a sprig of basil,
thyme or parsley. But salad compiled from basil, thyme and
parsley. Nothing but the good stuff, in abundance.
approach might strike the cook as lavish, indulgent, wanton.
Leaving a lot to relish.
About 6 cups
cup pine nuts
small clove garlic, degermed
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
tablespoons olive oil
tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
tomato, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
roasted red pepper, sliced into 1/2-inch squares
tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
fresh baby arugula, lightly packed
fresh parsley leaves, lightly packed
cucumber, sliced into rounds
block Parmesan cheese, about 1/2 ounce
Toast: Scatter pine nuts into a medium skillet. Set over
medium heat. Toast, shaking pan occasionally, until nuts
turn golden brown, about 7 minutes.
Mash: Drop garlic, salt and pepper into a mortar. Mash to a
paste with the pestle. Scrape paste into a large salad bowl.
Whisk in oil, lemon juice and zest. Slide in tomatoes,
roasted red peppers and thyme leaves. Toss. Let rest at room
temperature, at least 15 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
Toss: When ready to serve, drop in basil, arugula and
parsley. Toss until greens are glossy with dressing. Slide
in cucumbers. Carve on a few curls of Parmesan. Scatter on
pine nuts. Toss again.
Serve: Nice for lunch with grilled bread, or at dinner as a
side dish to grilled steak, fish or chicken.