Well here it is, the end of September already. I’m told that Autumn in upon us. However, as is usually the case in Virginia, no one bothered to forward the “it’s Fall now” memo to the weather department. Yup…we’re still baking around here with temps due to hit the lower 90’s this weekend. I know some folks are just thrilled with this turn of events, but ya’ll know that I really do not like hot weather. Not. One. Bit. So I’m going to have to take comfort in the fact that it will eventually cool off. Patience is a virtue. One good thing happening right now is zucchini is plentiful. I have a fantastic recipe to share with you today that will help you use up some of that delicious squash: Zucchini-Basil Pistou. When I first came across it on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Once Upon a Chef, I was certainly curious “What exactly is a Pistou?” I’m familiar with Pesto, but not Pistou. Turns out that a Pistou is somewhat similar to it’s Italian cousin Pesto. The main difference being that Pistou, a Provençal cold sauce, is traditionally made with garlic, basil, olive oil and salt. It does not contain the nuts found in pestos. The word “pistou” is an Occitan word which means “pounded” , which is pretty much what happens to that basil. This particular Pistou I’m sharing today contains zucchini (Yay!) in addition to the traditional ingredients. Oh and it also has a bit of lemon juice thrown in to brighten it up.
This seemingly simple sauce is an absolutely amazing flavor enhancer! I tell you it makes everything better! You can put it on pasta, spread it on bread or over crackers, add it to scrambled eggs, serve it with grilled chicken or fish, add a dollop to dress up your veggies or just eat it straight out of the bowl. This recipe originally comes from Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame, so I guess it is no surprise how mouth waveringly delicious it is! And here is the cherry on top of this recipe – you can make up a big batch while your zucchini garden is overflowing and then just freeze it! It keeps for 3 months when frozen in an airtight container. Yup – you can be savoring the scrumptious taste of the last hot and hazy days of summer well into the winter when it will (supposedly) be cold. This Pistou is easy to make, so what are you waiting for? Break out your food processor and you’ll have this tasty sauce done is just a few whirrs!
recipe from: Once Upon a Chef
- 1-1/3 pounds zucchini (2-3 zucchini, depending on size)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
First you will need to core the zucchini to remove the inner seeds. To do this cut the zucchini in half and then slice off the ends so that each piece will stand flat. Cut off the outer flesh of the zucchini, leaving the inner seed cores behind. Discard the cores or save for soup. Cut the remaining zucchini into 1-inch pieces.
In a small saucepan, combine the zucchini pieces with the olive oil and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil leaves, stir, and cook for one minute. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and salt. Pulse until you have a chunky purée. Transfer the pistou to a small bowl and serve warm.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The pistou can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
Zucchini-Basil Pistou brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaanjay.com)
Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Zucchini-Basil Pistou:
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale
Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor