The great thing about basil pesto is that it’s easy to make or buy and everyone loves it. It’s the perfect pasta sauce, the best partner for mozzarella and tomatoes, and mixed with mayo it makes a mean chicken or potato salad. But by mid summer, after all the parties and picnics, maybe you’re ready for something new. When Rick Bayless, master of all foods Mexican, introduced us to his go-to chile-cilantro pesto years ago, we immediately adopted it as our own. It’s super simple and lighter than Italian pesto (no nuts or cheese), but there is a bit of skillet time involved to coax extra flavor from garlic and serrano chiles by charring them first. Then a quick whizz in a food processor and blender and you have a vibrant parsley and cilantro sauce you’ll want to slather on everything from goat cheese toasts and eggs to grilled seafood and vegetables, tacos, quesadillas and grilled meats. It’s amazing stirred into a pot of steamed mussels or clams, or in a fish chowder. I’ve never tried it with pasta, but I’m sure it would be awesome tossed with corn fusilli, grilled fresh corn kernels and dollop of crema.
Find the recipe here.