This time, a meal to transport us to the Mediterranean.
A random weeknight: roasted eggplant, pepper, and zucchini, with a walnut parsley pesto to smear on top. New potatoes tossed with minced parsley and olive oil before being roasted, so the parsley dried to a crispiness that dissolved on the tongue. White wine, to wash it all down.
Mediterranean living seems to have a way of coaxing you to relax, to sip life in slowly, to gently untie the knots in your mind. To follow, my idea of what pesto should be has become rather loose: while its bedrock is still Parmesan and olive oil (though I’d go for a more exotic oil as well), it can contain any sort of nut and herb to round out its existence.
Walnut parsley pesto
Take a small handful of walnuts. Roast slowly and quietly in a heavy frying pan until there’s a bit of colour and the oil starts to seep out. Drop them into a mortar with a pinch of salt and begin whacking away with the pestle to diminish the average size until it is pesto-worthy – gritty, not chunky. Use your fingers to brush this out into a bowl and sprinkle in a handful of minced parsley. Grate Parmesan cheese over (add as much as intuition says, plus more.) Begin stirring, and continue to mix as you pour olive oil over. When things start to stick together, add one more glug of oil. Grate more cheese in. One more oily glug (perhaps this time sesame oil – scandal!) Taste and add a few dashes of salt if necessary.
Enjoy with a great sense of languor.