When someone hears the word pesto, they think of that
delicious, but oh so common, basil, garlic, pine nut paste. While that
particular pesto is amazing, I hope this walnut and parsley version serves as a
reminder that “pesto” is not a recipe, but a technique.
First, grind some garlic and salt into a paste with a mortar
and pestle. This releases the full fury of raw garlic’s real flavor. Fair
warning: this is some strong medicine, and I mean that literally. To that we
add some kind of nuts. Walnuts give you a gorgeous, buttery flavor and texture,
and pair beautifully with the aromatic, bittersweet parsley.
Finish to taste with lemon juice and/or vinegar, and olive
oil. Loosen with a little water if desired, and season generously with salt. That’s
pretty much it. Feel free to add cheese, but I like to keep this as is. It
has the flavor and mouthfeel of a rich butter spread, and I think the cheese would
get in the way.
You shouldn’t need any cayenne pepper, since raw garlic
prepared in this manner is surprisingly hot, but as usual, that’s up to you. I
really hope you give this ancient raw sauce a try soon. Enjoy!
Makes about 1 cup:
4 cloves garlic, sliced
large pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*to lighten, whisk in a few teaspoons of water