Monday, June 13, 2011

Pistou

At school, we talk about food.  A lot.  The three of us--my two teammates and I--love to cook, buy local and in season, and share recipes and ideas.  Last week the conversation centered around basil and what to do with our already abundant harvests.

Pesto, of course.

But Cindy's husband doesn't care for pine nuts, and Kate said she doesn't either; the nuts make the pesto mealy.  She suggested pistou--a simpler variation of pesto--basil and olive oil blended to the desired consistency.

Pistou is an olive oil based basil sauce from the south of France that closely resembles pesto. The way to make true pistou is by hand: tear the basil leaves into pieces first, then grind the leaves against the side of a mortar with a pestle to puree them into a silky, creamy sauce.

Kate also shared some of her favorite ways to enjoy pistou, and the one I tried for dinner this evening was poached eggs on a stale baguette drizzled with pistou.  I confess to using my tiny Cuisinart instead of a mortar and pestle, but the result was excellent.  Peasant fare, to be sure, but so, so delicious.

Do you have a favorite pistou recipe?  I'd love to hear it!

12 comments:

  1. Great photo. I love simple dinners and I'm so sad to no longer be part of those conversations.

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  2. I believe for our first anniversary G had salmon with pistou at a French restaurant. He loved it, and would love if I'd make it sometime (I'll have to add it to the list of dishes to surprise him with in Sept!). I think it's excellent, particularly if you want a basil flavor but smoother than pesto.

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  3. K, salmon with pistou sounds perfect for summer; I'll add that to my list of dishes!

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  4. Leigh, ohhh, we miss you too--but you're there in spirit!

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  5. I adore pesto, but have a harder time with pistou because I love the weight of the nuts. I've made pesto with walnuts, which I like better than with pine nuts.

    I've had pistou in vegetable soups, on salmon or other meaty fishes, or as a dipping sauce for bread. On Sunday, we grilled vegetables (peppers, leeks and squashes), and my friend drizzled pistou all over. Delicious! I think pistou with grilled or lightly roasted vegetables is my favorite - especially over grilled tomatoes.

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  6. I have to show this to my husband - he unknowingly made pistou the other night because he was so excited about his new basil and didn't feel like dragging out the cuisinart for pesto! I was away, so I didn't taste it, but I LOVE the idea of pistou drizzled over an egg and toast. I'm thinking of breakfast. . .

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  7. I have been waiting since the first time I starting reading MFC to be mentioned in a post! Thanks! We sure do love to talk about food (and eating it together over a glass of wine is even more fun). CK

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  8. Have fun with all the herbs and nuts you can find! Just watch out for cilantro too much can be a bit soapy tasting! This photo is amazing.

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