I’m going to tell you something, but you have to promise not to tell my friend Steve. He’s deathly allergic to nuts, you see, and becomes horribly offended when I feature them here. So don’t tell, okay? Okay.
Cashews. I’m slightly obsessed with them. Shhh.
I never ate cashews growing up, because I thought I was allergic to them; a handful of mixed nuts left me oddly itchy and puffed up like a balloon one Thanksgiving – needless to say, I spent the following years as far away as I could from any and all nut products. However, the guilty nut turned out to be none other than the evil Brazil nut, so while I continue to shun those oddly-shaped nuggets of anaphylaxis, cashews have gained a seat at the table. In a big way.
I throw cashews into salads, soups, even bowls of cereal. And I find few greater pleasures than eating roasted, salted handfuls straight from the freezer, which is where I store them (for freshness purposes).
I use cashews to make pesto. With some tarragon, parsley, lemon and garlic. I spread it on toast, eat it with pasta, smear it on roasted chicken. I suggest you do, too! Unless you are my friend Steve, in which case, do not eat this. But do. But don’t. You know. Sorry, Steve.
Cashew Tarragon Pesto
- 1 large bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from 3 lemons
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toast cashews in a dry pan over medium heat until lightly brown and fragrant. Allow to cool slightly.
Purée the first six ingredients in a food processor (from parsley through garlic). Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a bit of salt and pepper, and blend until a coarse paste forms. Add a few tablespoons of warm water to thin the sauce to desired consistency, and adjust seasoning to taste.
Use as a sandwich spread, atop a bowl of hot pasta, or alongside roasted chicken.
Makes about 3 cups pesto.