I get a little carried away in the grocery store. Especially one filled with exciting and exotic ingredients, like my local Asian market. Some people spend their extra bucks on shoes or gadgets; mine goes right in my fridge—fodder for the laboratory. But sometimes (okay, many times) I get carried away and end up with tons of extra ingredients on hand that I have to use before they spoil. (Looking in my fridge you’d never know I live alone.) The following recipe comes from one of those times: so many extra ingredients just waiting to be transformed.
I had gotten carried away in the produce section of the Tai Nam Market and ended up with purple basil, Thai spicy basil, and jalapenos—in bulk. Can I make something coherent and delicious out of that? I say of course! I went for a spicy, Thai-inspired pesto. The results were delicious.
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves (I used purple and thai basil)
8 jalapenos, roasted, peeled and seeded (instructions below)
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/4 medium onion
1/3 cup nuts (usually pinenuts or walnuts are used for pesto; I had hazelnuts on hand, so that’s what I used)
the juice of one lime
1/4 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
First, roast your jalapenos. Having a gas oven with a real (open flame) broiler makes this really easy, but it’s not necessary. Broil peppers directly under broiler (on top rack) or stovetop, right on the burner, turning at intervals until the skin blackens and blisters.
The easiest way to peel the peppers is to put them into a paper bag for 5-10 minutes while they are still hot before peeling. This loosens the skins, making them easy to remove. After peeling them, seed them, making sure to remove all seeds, or else this will be too spicy to eat!