Monday, December 6, 2021

INTERNATIONAL: BORDERLESS CUISINE 4 - Pesto, Pistou, Persillade, Chimichurri and Gremolata



Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verdes)

Waves of Italians from Genoa poured into Peru in the mid-1800's.  Instead of peppery basil,

and pine nuts

the Italian immigrants in Peru used available local products such as sweet spinach, cream (replacement for oil) and queso fresco (replacement for Parmesan). Walnuts or pecans were substituted for pine nuts. (When the Italians first came to Peru these items weren't readily available:  basil, olive oil, pine nuts and pasta.)

Serving suggestions (with lime wedges and/or Parmesan)
  • over tenderloin
  • with fish
  • with pasta
  • with rice
  • with potatoes
  • over fried egg(s)
  • with green beans
  • with steamed or slightly sauteed zucchini, asparagus, fava beans and peas.
Italian Pesto (Pesto Genovese or Pesto alla Genovese)

Other Pestos: 
Pesto alla siciliana, sometimes called pesto rosso (red pesto), is a sauce from Sicily similar to pesto alla genovese but with the addition of tomato, almonds instead of pine nuts, and much less basil.  Pesto alla calabrese is a sauce from Calabria consisting of (grilled) bell peppers, black pepper and more; these ingredients give it a distinctively spicy taste.

Pistou (a French version of pesto)

The sauce is derived from the Genovese pesto, 

which is traditionally made of garlic, basil, pine nuts, grated Sardinian Pecorino, and olive oil, crushed and mixed together with a mortar and pestle. The key difference between pistou and pesto is the absence of pine nuts in pistou.

Pistou is a typical condiment from the Provence region of France most often associated with the Provençal dish soupe au pistou, which resembles ministrone and may include white beans, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, potatoes, and pasta. The pistou is incorporated into the soup just before serving.

Gruyere cheese is used in Nice. Some regions substitute Parmesan Cheese. In Liguria, Pecorino, a hard sheep's milk cheese from Sardinia or Corsica is used. Whatever cheese is used, it is preferred that it not be a "stringy" cheese, so that when it melts in a hot liquid (like in the pistou soup, for instance), it does not melt into long strands.

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a green sauce, traditionally used for grilled meat in Argentina. The dish’s main ingredients include minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley, olive oil, and wine vinegar. It normally contains oregano as well, and variations often include paprika, cumin, lemon, basil, thyme, tomato, cilantro, and red bell pepper.
You will most frequently see chimichurri served with grilled meats like steak and lamb, especially throughout Argentina (Basque section of France sent a lot of Basques to Argentina - Basque name of sauce:   tximitxurri) and Peru. This incredibly flavorful sauce is quite similar to Italian basil pesto, but with parsley instead of basil.  SERVING SUGGESTIONS: The fresh garlic and parsley pair really well with grilled steak or lamb and roasted vegetables, but it is also delicious served over lentil burgers, mixed into pasta salad, or as a condiment to perk up sandwiches and wraps!


Persillade is the culinary term for a chopped mixture of garlic and parsley, usually in equal parts by volume. The root of the word is persil, the French word for parsley.  Simple to make, but a common ingredient in many dishes, it is often included in a sauté cook's staples. It can be added early in a dish for a mellow flavour, added at the very end of the cooking to provide a garlicky jolt, or even used raw as a garnish.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS:  A classic French bistro dish is Pommes persillard,

basically cubed potatoes fried in small amount of oil, with persillade added at the end of the cooking. New Orleans chef Austin Leslie's signature dish was Fried Chicken with Persillade 

basically fried chicken with the garlic and parsley mixture added as a garnish.

Gremolata (or gremolada) is an Italian chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon peel. It is a traditional accompaniment to the Italian braided veal shank dish, "ossobuco alla milanese". Although it is a common accompaniment to veal, the citrus element in gremolata makes it an appropriate addition to seafood dishes. 

LINK to gremolata recipe



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