1 bunch arugula
1/2 bunch of flat leaf parsley (about 40 stems)
1 large or 2 medium cloves of garlic, germ removed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1/3 – 1/2 cup flavorful extra virgin olive oil
Using a sharp knife cut the parsley leaves from the stems, turning the bundle to cut all the way around. Bunch up the parsley and lay the arugula over it and then begin to cut the leaves as finely as you can. Cut down to the stems of the arugula then stop. Discard the stems.
Begin mincing the leaves as finely as you can. Stop if you notice the leaves starting to become very dark. When the leaves are done, transfer to a non-reactive bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice. Toss to evenly coat.
Split the garlic clove(s) from base to tip and remove the germ (the little sprout that forms and turns green. The germ tastes bitter and can cause stomach upset.) Mince the garlic as finely as you can and add to the leaves.
Add fresh ground pepper and a big pinch of salt. Stir ingredients to evenly distribute seasonings. Add 1/3 cup of olive oil and stir to mix.
Mince the almonds as finely as you can and stir into the bowl. Begin stirring oil into the bowl until a “pesto” consistency is reached. The mixture should be wet without being soupy or liquid. A little loose oil around the edges is just right.
Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Salt or lemon are the first elements to look to.
Use immediately or refrigerate right away.
CHEF NOTES: “I use this like a traditional pesto would be used but I pass the Parmesan separately and use it lightly. It is also good smeared on grilled lemon chicken. It’s also delicious with raw oysters or as a dip.”
SOURCE: Chef Andrew Cohen, Chef in Residence, Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets