mint + pistachio pesto infused with saffron [vegan]

Let's get right to it, this is one of my favorite recipes, which I created and tweaked to perfection over the course of a few months in 2015. 

Rather than a traditional basil and pine nut Italian / Mediterranean pesto, we're going to craft from scratch a pesto which touches on the notes of Persian gastronomy. Using refreshing mint, creamy and nutty pistachio, and -- well you'll see. Here are the ingredients you'll need:   

 

1 1/2 cups of fresh mint leaves, stems removed

1 1/2 cups of fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1 cup of scallion, roughly chopped

3/4 cup of roasted pistachios, shell-off and unsalted

2 tsp of kosher salt (this is a good baseline, but adjust up to your taste if you want it more salty)

1 1/2 tbsp of grated garlic 

1 1/2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of filtered, room-temperature water 

1/2 gram of Mazaeus Persian Saffron 

 

The above recipe is vegan, although pesto traditionally includes a cheese to add sharpness, such as Parmesan for the Italian variety. In our case, if you opt to add cheese, go with a whole milk French Chèvre, or Bulgarian Feta. Keep in mind that these two cheeses are quite different, particularly in texture and salt, so adjust your salt accordingly per your taste. If you're adding the feta, you may want to cut out the 2 tsp of kosher salt from the recipe entirely. 

Preparation here is easy. Start by infusing your 1 cup of water with your 1/2 gram of Saffron, all you need to do here is gently stir these together into a bowl for a moment and then allow to steep for 30 minutes. While the Saffron steeps, roughly chop your fresh herbs to make mixing easier. You'll need a food processor to get everything blended properly; a food processor will give you a grainy texture. If you want a smooth, creamy purée, use a blender rather than a food processor. Once the Saffron has properly steeped, strain out the Saffron threads and save them to use as a garnish later. Drop all of the rest of your ingredients, including the steeped Saffron water, into the bowl of your mixer, and blitz. 

Once you're done, your yield should be about 1 quart, give or take. You can use the strained Saffron threads here as a garnish, topping them onto the pesto in its serving bowl.

This will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week if properly sealed. 

Have fun with this one. Serve with grilled chicken or lamb. Tag us on Facebook and Instagram to show us your mint + pistachio pesto infused with Saffron.

Cheers!

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