Spicy Peanut and Lemon Basil Pesto

Photo by Molly J Peterson, FoodShed Magazine


What to do with the last of the basil, baby ginger and chile peppers that were pick up before the storm: inspired by a peanut and chile salsa-like dish from Réunion Island (“Rougail pistaches”), this pesto-like concoctioj adds a nice kick to sandwiches, omelets and cold or hot meats.

If basil is unavailable, use a mixture of cilantro and parsley.

Yields About 1 Cup

1 cup tightly packed lemon basil (or lime basil or Thai-basil leaves, or cilantro and parsley)
½ cup roasted Virginia peanuts (preferably unsalted)
¼ cup fresh green moderately hot chili peppers (like Serrano or Jalapeno), stem end removed, and roughly chopped
1 clove fresh plump garlic (green germ removed if any)
1 piece of fresh plump ginger root, the size of your thumbnail, peeled and sliced (if using baby ginger, no need to peel)
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ to ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (or peanut oil)

Place all ingredients except oil in a food processor. Process until smooth, adding olive oil through the feeder tube until it reaches a consistency you like. Scrape bowl down as needed. Don’t over process: You want to see bits of pieces all the different ingredients.

As with all dishes made with basil, the part exposed to air will darken as basil oxidizes. Keep refrigerated for up to a week, under a thin layer of oil.

Locavore log: basil, peanuts, chiles, garlic, ginger

Recipe originally published in Food-shed magazine, Fall 2012.

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