A favorite with the preschoolers at New Day School, this simple kale pesto features asafoetida (also known as hing), an Indian spice with an allium-like flavor that is commonly used among Jains, who shun garlic and onions. It is a sharply pungent smelling spice that mellows beautifully when cooked. Use it sparingly at first. Don’t have asafoetida on hand? Substitute a smashed garlic clove.
1 bunch fresh kale, stems removed
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 tsp asafoetida
1 tsp agave (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1. Bring water to a roiling boil in a large stockpot and add several Tbsp sea salt. Fill a separate bowl halfway with water and add one tray ice cubes.
2. Add the kale leaves to the stockpot and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the boiling water and plunge in the ice bath.
3. Combine the kale leaves and all other ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add sea salt to taste. Serve over freshly boiled pasta or cooked potatoes.
Makes 1-1/2 to 2 cups
Recipe by Atandra Didi of New Day School
Photo by Shawn Linehan