With four huge chive plants in my garden right now, I figured a great way to use up a lot of them in one fell swoop would be chive pesto. Pesto is so versatile, there are a myriad of ways to enjoy it.
For the freshest chives, wait until you’re ready to make the pesto and then head out to the garden with scissors and give your chives a hair-cut. If you don’t have a garden, you can obtain already-cut stems from your local farm-stand or supermarket. For this recipe, I sheared off an entire plant that was over a foot tall and nearly as wide. By the time I removed the less desirable stalks and woody ends, I ended up with a large bowl full of chives. It works best to break them into 2 inches pieces before placing into the food processor.
Makes 2+ cups of pesto
4 cups (or more) chopped fresh “common” chives (not garlic)
4 ounces almonds, chopped and toasted
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
To rough-chop the almonds: Fill a heavy-duty Ziploc bag with nuts. Place the Ziploc bag on a sturdy cutting board and pound with a rolling bin until nuts are coarsely chopped.
To toast the almonds: Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for best results. Pour the almonds into the dry pan. When the pan is preheated, spread the almonds across the pan in an even layer. Stir or shake the pan very frequently (about once every 30 seconds) to prevent the nuts from burning.The almond slices will roast a little unevenly, so it’s important to keep the almonds moving. Remove the almonds from the pan when they are done toasting, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the almonds from the heat just before they begin to develop browned edges and a fragrant smell, otherwise they will start to burn. Immediately pour the toasted almond slices onto a plate to cool.
Rinse the chives and gently pat them dry with a tea towel or use a salad spinner. You’ll need at least 4 cups of chives for this recipe, I used even more than that. Roughly chop the herbs and then place them into the work bowl of your food processor. Add the shredded Parmesan cheese and the cooled almonds. Roughly chop two cloves of garlic, and add them to the food processor. Turn the machine one, and give these ingredients a quick pulse just to chop them finely.
With the machine running, add the lemon juice, and then the olive oil, starting with 1/4 cup oil for a thick, spread-able pesto. If you want a thin pesto that you can toss with pasta or cooked veggies, add up to a 1/2 cup of oil. I used slightly more than 1/2 cup, since I had so many chives.
The Parmesan should provide enough salt, but taste and adjust as needed, adding more cheese, almonds or lemon juice, to suit your taste.
Crackers and fresh raw veggies
Fish such as halibut or salmon
Grilled prawns or jumbo shrimp
Tossed with your favorite pasta
Thin slices of French baguette
Note: If you want to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese. Using plastic ice cube trays, fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove frozen pesto cubes from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan.
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