I recently adopted a mint plant, something I’ve been very excited about for two reasons:
1) Mojitos. All summer long.
2) I’ve been dying to make a gigantic batch of mint pesto.
The mint, which is bright green and intensely fragrant when fresh, becomes a dark forest green colour when blended with almonds, olive oil, garlic and salt. The flavour is decidedly minty but it complements and enhances rather than overpowering, letting the olive oil and garlic shine through too.
If you are a meat-eater then your mind no doubt jumped to lamb. Roasted lamb and mint sauce (finely chopped mint leaves, soaked in vinegar, and a small amount of sugar) is a classic British pairing. I remember my mum making a homemade mint sauce for Sunday roasts when we moved to a house that had mint growing in the back garden. Wow. It’s such a great pairing of flavours. Mint pesto is like mint sauce’s sassy big sister. It would still be delectable with lamb but it’s more creamy and rich (hello olive oil and almonds) with none of the tart acidity you get with mint sauce.
Serve it on lamb chops alongside some teeny tiny lemon new potatoes.
Or do as I did and serve it as a burger garnish. We had it with turkey burgers and it was delightful but by all means make some lamb burgers, because…well, you get it.
- 4 packed cups mint leaves
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more if necessary (I definitely used a fair amount more)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Blend all the ingredients in a small food processor or chopper until smooth. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap completely covering and touching the surface of the pesto to prevent oxidization, or in a tightly sealed mason jar. Makes 2/3 cup.