There is nothing that is more satisfying in the summer than using fresh herbs to enhance all our garden produce. It reaches all senses. It’s wonderful that we have the option to buy them and to grow them in pots year around. It’s quite another to go out into the soil in the early Spring and midsummer and cut them. It hits you on so many levels - the fragrance, the feel of them in your hand, the green smudge left behind on a cutting board. Chopped and thrown into a salad bowl or garnished parsley on warm potatoes, whole basil leaves on a stack of fresh tomatoes, the uses are endless. It is truly a sign of the beginning of summer when you have so many options both in the garden and in the market.
One of my favourite sauces that becomes a staple in my refrigerator in the summer months is Pistou. Pistou is a french sauce made of few ingredients. It is similar to Italian pesto, to Argentinian chimichurri (also one of my favourites). What I like about this sauce is that once you make the base, you can add whatever you want to taste.
The basis is always a mixture of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt. We use cider vinegar to give it a little lift and lighter taste, but this is not a traditional part of the sauce. If you want to add parmesan cheese, or nuts or chilli peppers it all works. Make it in a double batch as you will want to keep the leftovers in the refrigerator to put on pizza, fried eggs, hamburgers, grilled fish…..
Recipe yields 1 cup
4 cups of fresh herbs. I use lovage*, parsley, basil, chives, tarragon
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Salt to taste
Put all the ingredients into a blender and pulse until it is pureed. Add more oil if necessary to make a thin sauce.
*lovage has a strong flavour of celery and I use it sparingly. It’s hard to find in a store - it is generally something you might have in your garden.