Purple Pesto


I couldn't resist the purple basil I found at the farmer's market this morning, even though I grow my own green basil.

I turned it into a purple pesto, which is a perfect summer sauce. I served it with wild salmon, but you can eat it with almost anything. Slather it on slices of fresh tomatoes. Swirl a spoonful into a bowl of cool gazpacho, warm scrambled eggs, or freshly sautéed finely chopped cauliflower. Whisk in some vinegar to make it a vinaigrette. Or serve it with whatever you have on the grill: vegetables, chicken, lamb, fish, or tofu triangles.

"Pesto" is really just a paste and it can be made of many different things. Often it includes fresh herbs, garlic, some sort of nut, and something salty - like grated Parmesan cheese, olives, or anchovies.

If you don't have purple basil, feel free to use the green variety, or even a mixture of fresh herbs. Pine nuts are a popular choice but I used walnuts instead to make my pesto an exceptionally good source of healthy omega-3 fats. If you prefer a dairy-free pesto, opt for olives or anchovies instead of Parmesan.

1 bunch fresh purple basil, about 3 cups packed leaves
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup raw walnuts
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments.

Serve the pesto within 2 hours or transfer it to an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to eat it.