Fresh Parsley Pesto

While most are familiar with basil pesto, parsley makes a fresh tasting condiment too! Parsley is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking or garnishing. Parsley comes in two varieties — flat leaf (also called Italian parsley) or curly leaf. Parsley is high in vitamin K and has anti-inflammatory properties. Toss parsley pesto with hot pasta and some garlicky, toasted breadcrumbs. It’s also delicious served with poultry or drizzled on vegetables or rice.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cloves garlic, germ* removed
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
Course salt
1/4 cup walnuts, raw or toasted (but toasted offers more flavor)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Optional, but nice: 1-2 teaspoons Meyer lemon juice, or 1/2 teaspoon zest

METHOD:

Place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese in a food processor bowl. Process until mixture forms a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste for seasoning, and adjust to taste with salt and pepper. Add Meyer lemon juice or zest to taste, if using.

*If the garlic has begun to sprout (the green ‘germ’ in the middle of the clove), remove it. Otherwise, it causes an unpleasant bitter-hot garlic flavor.

YIELD: About 2 1/2 cups

Fried Green Tomatoes with Herb Mayonnaise

We serve these as a snack at Bantam in the late spring. Unripe, green tomatoes are very abundant right now as farmers and gardeners thin out their tomato plants. The unripe cherry tomatoes get pickled and the full size tomatoes get fried. It’s super easy, although the herb mayonnaise may be a little harder.

INGREDIENTS:

For the mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
Juice of 1 lemon
A small clove of garlic pounded in a mortar or smashed up with the side of your knife
1 cup olive oil
A handful of chopped, soft herbs (soft like, basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, what ever you like)
Salt and chili pepper

METHOD:

Whisk the yolk with the garlic, a little salt, lemon juice, and using a ladle, slowly add the olive oil while whisking. You are trying to form an emulsion, binding the protein of the egg with the fat of the oil; if they do not want to bind, you will have to convince them by quickly whisking and slowly drizzling —after a few ounces the mixture should become yellow and thick, continue to add oil until you have reached your desired consistency then add your chopped herbs, taste and season.

For the tomatoes:
4 unripe green tomatoes
1 cup all purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
A few cups of neutral oil for frying, depending on the size of your pan
Salt and pepper

METHOD:

Slice the tomatoes in 1/4 inch thick slices, season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Prepare your breading dishes, one bowl each for flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.

Put the oil in a pan — it should be about 2 inches deep, turn on a low flame. Coat the sliced tomatoes in flour then dip into the egg and finally the breadcrumbs; they should be evenly coated in crumbs.

When the oil is hot  (about 325°-350°F), carefully fry the tomatoes until golden brown. With a spatula, lift out tomatoes and place on a tray with a brown paper bag or paper towels and season with a little more salt.

Serve with the herb mayonnaise.