The other day I got a big bag full of spring goods from my aunt’s garden – it had snow peas, pea pods and fava beans (also still in their pods) in there. I sat down in front of the tv for a good hour peeling the pea and fava pods, and by the end of it there was this huge pile of green pods and a smaller one with the actual edible produce (that was eaten in the next two or three days). However, the bag also contained a considerable amount of snow peas (and, thankfully, those do not need to be shelled), and even though I love eating them the simplest way possible – sautéed for just a few minutes with garlic and olive oil – I felt I needed to do something a little bit different with them just for the sake of variety. And so this pesto recipe was born.
It’s as easy as it gets – mix a couple ingredients in the food processor, purée, season and enjoy. I prefer my almonds toasted (I think they’re more flavourful that way), but if you don’t want to turn on the oven just to toast them, you could use them in their natural state and still end up with a tasty, somewhat unusual, pesto. I brought some of it to a dinner party and we ate it over bread, crackers and even as a dipping sauce/paste to spring rolls but, really, you could do a whole lot of things with it – it’s excellent as pasta sauce, for instance.
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Snow Pea and Roasted Almond Pesto
- 200 g snow peas
- 1/3 cup / 55 g almonds with their skins on
- zest and juice of one medium lemon
- ½ cup / 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ plus 1/8 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 garlic cloves
- a few sprigs of lemon thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºc /350 F.
- Rinse the snow peas and, while trimming their ends, slide your finger along one side to remove any tough strings. Coarsely chop them.
- Arrange the almonds evenly on a baking tray. Roast them for8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Set them aside to cool. When the almonds are cool enough to be handled, chop them coarsely.
- Put all the chopped snow peas and almonds in the bowl of a food processor along with the other ingredients. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until smooth. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl and store in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days.