There is nothing better than finding a great bunch of herbs at the market. It happens to us almost every week as the local Foodies market produce sellers just seem to grow the most spectacular herbs – must be something in the local water.
The hardest part about buying wonderfully fragrant herbs is figuring out how to keep them fresh for as long as possible. I’ve tried many tactics and the best I’ve found is wrapping the herb leaves in paper towel and then wrappining the whole bundle in a plastic bag. I would welcome some other herb saving ideas to try, so feel free to leave a comment about how you keep your herbs fresher in the fridge for longer.
A couple of weeks ago we found possibly the best bunch of basil I have ever seen (or smelt) at Ramsgate Organic Foodies Market (see right). I knew the moment we bought it that leaving it in the fridge for even once day would be sacrilege and so immediately had designs to turn it into the best basil pesto I’ve ever made.
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts toasted
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the basil and toasted nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
Slowly add olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. After adding the oil turn the food processor off and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and freshly ground salt and pepper to taste and pulse again until blended.
There are many ways to use pesto – stir through cooked pasta, use as a herb marinade, turn into a dip by adding ricotta, spread on a roll… the possibilities are endless!