Purple Shiso Pesto

I'd been poking around trying to find some ideas for using our garden's high yield of red/purple shiso. If you know Japanese  Korean, Chinese, or Vietnamese cooking, you know shiso, but I was looking for something different. In my poking I found a recipe for shiso pesto, monkeyed with it, and it turned out awesome, and this is coming from a guy who is usually underwhelmed by pesto. The breakdown follows.

The start of something good
Purple Shiso Pesto:

In a food processor, combine:

1 cup of tightly packed clean, dry shiso leaves, stems off.
The juice of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 crushed garlic cloves (go garlic or go home)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mixed walnuts and cashews

Blend it. Push it down with a spatula. Repeat until it's pasty.

It's a process
The flavor of this pesto is really something great, and it couldn't have taken more than a half hour to put together. Did I mention that shiso/perilla is nutritionally loaded and may have anti-inflammatory benefits? What are you waiting for? Grow some shiso!

When the shiso grows back I'll be making some limeade, but for now I'll be using some edible flowers in a salad or two. Next on the pesto roster, however, is either culantro or sacred basil. I'll let you know.

UPDATE (9/21/2014): Mixed a bit of this pesto with a rice and orzo mix last night. It was a hit at dinner.



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