Cilantro-Almond Pesto

17 02 2012

Needed pozole yesterday (did you know it comes from the Nahuatl word for “foamy”? also, that it used to be made with human flesh? mine was, uh, chicken), so clearly required a heap of cilantro to crown it. The bunch was slightly mangy-looking even last night, thus necessitating immediate use – and what better than spicy cilantro-almond pesto on which to base an afternoon mexi-feast?

It’s rare that I cook beef, not due to any particular dietary concern but rather based on heavy veggie and fish preferences. Upon hearing my pleas for meaty advice, the carnicería guy across the street suggested lomo de entrecot, which I think refers to entrecôte cut from the sirloin. I rubbed it with a healthy coat of Evansville Magic Dust and let it come to just about room temperature, then seared it in a cast iron skillet with just a smear of olive oil. While I was supremely happy with the crust that developed, the center was reduced to a light pink – much too done for my taste. I had the heat cranked, the cut was perhaps 1/3 inch thick, and I did the first side 2.5 minutes and flipped for another 1.5 – will try shaving off a minute next time. Still mad delicious with the spicy, nutty pesto.

I modeled the salad after the constant accompaniment I remember from Cuautla, where you just dip a whole cucumber into chile powder and bite into crunchy spiced bliss. Today was cucumber slices and halved cherry tomatoes sprinkled with chile powder, cayenne, lime juice, and salt – not a bad facsimile.

Cilantro-Almond Pesto
slightly adapted from Simply Recipes.

2 cups cilantro, large stems removed
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 small roughly chopped red onion
1/2 chopped and seeded serrano chile – next time I’d add the whole thing, but I’m a spice masochist.
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil – I used a bit less, I think. Added it by the teaspoon until the consistency looked right, and it tasted like I never wanted to stop eating it.

1. In a food processor – or with an immersion blender if you must (and I must) – pulse the cilantro, almonds, onion, chile, and salt until well blended.

2. With the food processor/immersion blender running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.

Makes about 1 cup. Whatever you don’t use, you can freeze. Line a ice cube tray with plastic wrap and fill in the individual cube spaces with the pesto. Freeze and remove from the ice tray, put in a sealed freezer bag for future use.


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4 responses

17 02 2012
Sunshine and Siestas

Woe is me, too, with the hand blender. One of these days, I will bring back a real American blender. One day…ps I am on a diet and this food is making me hungry. Must resist the urge to make too much before the feria de Abril…

17 02 2012
contomates

i mean, it does get the job done – but it’s less “pulsing” and more “plunging”…

also, pesto is good for you. i give you permiso. :3

18 02 2012
Cassandra

Lovely presentation, Janel. Congrats on sending the apps packing and the subsequent con tomates revival!

18 02 2012
contomates

you know it!! there’s a big ‘un in the works too… perhaps today, perhaps tomorrow.

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