Pesto is one of the things we love. And we also love playing around with it. Use different herbs. Different nuts. Different types of cheese. Always keep the extra virgin olive oil though.

This week we got inspired by our pistachios. With beautiful pink exteriors and vibrant green kernels, these little gems from the island of Aegina are sweet and intense in flavour. Nothing to do with your supermarket stuff.

This recipe is so versatile. You can make a large batch and then use it in so many different recipes. Mix with warm pasta shells, put a dollop over baked potatoes, mix it into your favourite soup, mix with some Greek yogurt for an easy dip. The combinations are endless. These are the recipes we love. Few, good ingredients. Easy to make. Easy to use.

Makes one cup of pesto
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
½ cup unsalted pistachios kernels
½ cup basil
½ cup parsley
1 tbs grated St Isidoros cheese* (or parmesan)
lemon juice to taste
pinch of salt

Pick the leaves from the herbs and save the stalks for stock. You can dry fry the pistachios in a frying pan if you like, but raw are better if you ask me. In a blender or with a pestle and mortar place the herbs and pistachios. Blend, adding slowly the extra virgin olive oil until your pistachios are crushed and combined with the herbs. Add the cheese and stir. Season with salt and squeeze generously the lemon juice to balance the nuttiness of pistachios. If you don’t use it right away, store in a jar in the fridge, pouring some olive oil on top.

*St. Isidoros is a goat’s milk hard cheese from Naxos Island. Come and try it at our shop at Borough Market.


Ingredients:


4 large eggs at room temperature, separated
150 g good – quality dark chocolate, broken  (I used Piura Porcelana by Original Beans. Just note : being raw, it WILL keep you up at night (but it works perfectly with this fruity, award -winning olive oil)
70 ml 17oC lemon & thyme infused olive oil
70 -80 g caster sugar (depending on cacao content of chocolate used)
Pinch of instant coffee granules
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp sumac and a little bit extra to garnish
Chopped, toasted pistachios

Method :
Melt chocolate in microwave (20s blasts, stirring in between), or in bain marie. 
Allow to cool slightly.
Beat egg yolks, 30g sugar, sumac, salt and coffee granules until pale yellow and fluffy. Whisk in olive oil. Slowly whisk in melted chocolate. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
Taste chocolate mixture.

Add 40-50g sugar to egg white mix depending on desired bitterness of mousse. 
Beat until hard peaks form. Mix a large spoonful of egg whites into chocolate mix until completely incorporated. Pour chocolate mix into egg white mix, fold in gently. Pipe into desired glasses (as in photos), or into a big sharing bowl and leave to set for a few hours in the fridge /overnight.

Garnish with sumac pistachio mixture. Serve with shortbread (or pistachio biscotti, perhaps?)

by Jackie