Saturday, May 10, 2014

Think Global, Eat Local

In my on-going quest to prepare "international" foods without the exorbitant price tag, I present to you:

Kailan Pesto

500g baby kailan
a large wedge of decent parmesan cheese
handful of cashew nuts
copious amounts of best quality olive oil

  1. Process the parmesan cheese into fine crumbs, not a dust but something like breadcrumbs.
  2. Wash and tear kailan into small pieces. Process roughly, add a bit of olive oil to help make a paste.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese and process.
  4. Add the cashew nuts and process.
  5. Adjust seasoning and add more olive oil to make the desired consistency.

This creates a lovely green paste with a strong parmesan taste. You may wish to adjust the ratio of cheese to cashew nut to have a sweeter flavour. The kailan was masked but the strong cheese and nuts, but there was a hint of greenness - the olive oil also had strong grassy notes which gave a nice sense of verdancy.

Pesto is usually made with a plentiful green herb when it is in season. During summer months, crops of basil and tomatoes are plentiful in temperate climes, so it makes sense to make pesto and tomato sauce from basil and fresh tomatoes; just like jams and preserves from summer fruit and berries.

Singapore is in the tropics and imports almost all its food. There are few seasons for the tropical fruit, but it is extravagant to make pesto from scratch. Of course it is delightful, I especially love smoked basil pesto, but not something you'd do regularly. I came across many recipes for kale pesto. Now kale is another fashionable vegetable, superfood, etc. But kale is imported and expensive. Kale is also a member of the Brassica family (brocolli, choy sum, etc), and so I thought to try making a pesto with kailan, my favourite brassica.

Anything kale can do, kailan can also do. Let's put this to the test.

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