Smoked Walnut, Pine Nut and Garlic Winter Pesto

Greetings from Kyoto

I love pesto in the summer and used to make it back home in Minnesota. Pine nuts and good cheese are crazy expensive in Japan and I have never seen basil available here in the quantity that I would want to make a big batch of basil pesto. So, I have never made it here. Once, back home, I came across this recipe for winter pesto made with walnuts which I made just once and have recalled it many times over the year. This week I was smoking habanero peppers to make my chili oil with — which is completely awesome! As I had the ‘smoker’ all setup on my kitchen range, I got the idea to make winter pesto but to first smoke the main ingredients. So, once I was finished with the habaneros, I loaded my makeshift smoker with walnuts, pine nuts and garlic and gave them a good smoking with sakura cherry and ume plum wood.

The pesto came out really smokey, maybe a bit too smokey even. Nothing dainty about this one! But, never the less, it was doggone good. (My dogs even agreed, of course they got some leftovers). For the finishing touch, I zested and juiced a Meyer lemon on it. It seemed like my ideal winter soul food.

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