I discovered this one reading old cookbooks and then subsequently googling it I found that water chestnut pesto is an old classic. So much for my culinary education.
I made the pesto to have with a cauliflower soup and subsequently with Jerusalem artichoke soup. In both cases the pesto turned what is a fairly uninteresting soup into something fantastic. The trick is to make a very thick, i.e. not oily, pesto that can be left in the soup as a quenelle without melting. People can then add a little bit to each spoonful of soup.
- 100g water chestnuts, cooked and peeled or just use tinned ones;
- 75g hard goat's cheese (some recipes use aged cheddar) crumbled;
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (be careful with the garlic I used a large garlic clove and it was too much);
- ½ tsp Maldon salt;
- 1 good pinch freshly-ground black pepper
- 50 gr flat-leaf parsley ideally leaves only;
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 150ml olive oil
- 50ml groundnut oil or extra-virgin rapeseed oil
Put the chestnuts, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a fairly grainy mixture. Add the parsley and pulse again until well chopped. Add the lemon juice and slowly add the oil until you achieve the desired consistency. I like it a little granular and not too smooth and to use in a quenelle it should be quite thick. Adjust the seasoning, then spoon into a clean glass jar. Pour a little oil over the top of the pesto, seal and refrigerate for up to two weeks.
This pesto works really well on pasta or over salmon with a big of vegetables. In fact anything you would use regular pesto for will be improved by the addition of water chestnut pesto.