A couple of weeks ago when we first harvested Chinese leeks for the CSA shares, there was an abundance of leeks in our fridge and they don’t tend to last very long. We’d been using them to spice up everything from mashed potatoes to soups, but we wanted to use them all up in one go before they became compost. Last season I remember making a great pesto with Chinese leeks, but this time Nick had an idea to change it up a bit and we both really liked the result. Normally I would stick to very simple and classic ingredients; nuts, salt, garlic, olive oil, greens. Nick casually suggested that since the leeks are of Asian origin we should try to match them up with other Asian ingredients; toasted sesame oil and fresh ginger. Viola, Asian Pesto! It is perfect.
Asian Pesto Recipe
-A handful of raw almonds (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
-2-3 cloves of garlic
-Equal amount of fresh ginger (we used left over from the first CSA shares)
-One bunch of Chinese leeks
-A teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
-About 1/4 cup of olive oil
-Sea salt to taste
-In a food processor, pulse almonds, garlic and ginger until crumbly and of mostly equal size. You can’t go wrong here; it is just as good whether the texture is more or less coarse.
-After cleaning and chopping the leeks into 1 inch pieces, add to the food processor in 2 or 3 batches, pulsing a few times in between to incorporate them. Scrape down the sides in between batches.
-Add sesame oil and pulse a couple of times.
-Add olive oil slowly, pulsing as you pour, until you get the desired consistency. Some people like their pesto on the dry side, others prefer it oilier. For pasta you’ll want an oilier pesto.
-Add salt to taste and it’s finished.
It keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks and freezes very well too.