Pesto is one of my all time favorite condiments; it is so versatile and the possibilities are endless! I love my pesto tossed in pastas, drizzled on salads, mixed in with mayonnaise to make an amazing spread, and even coated on chicken for a spin on a boring classic! Seriously I could go on and on with how I use my pesto- there never seems to be enough! This pesto is so flavorful and just brightens any dish. The kale adds such a great earthy note and the sherry brings out the perfect pop of savoriness. This pesto stores well and can even be frozen individually for quick weeknight dinners!
3-4 cups kale, stems removed
1 cup basil
3 cloves of garlic
zest of 1 lemon (about a tablespoon)
juice of 3 lemons (2 if they are large)
1 cup toasted walnuts
splash of sherry vinegar (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, make an ice bath. This is a big bowl of water with ice. Once the water is boiling, add in the kale. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the kale is bright green. When the kale is done cooking, put directly in the ice bath. This process is called “blanching”. The ice bath will immediately stop the cooking of the kale and keep its color. Take the kale out of the ice bath and squeeze all the liquid out.
Heat a dry skillet on medium heat. Add in the walnuts. Cook, tossing occasionally until they start to toast and turn darker (not burnt!) This usually takes 8- 10 minutes. You will know they are ready when you can smell them. Set aside.
In a food processor add in the basil, kale, and garlic. Pulse until the garlic is minced and the greens are broken up. Then add in the zest, juice, sherry, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few more times until combined. Lastly, add the parmesan and with the machine pulsing, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning. The pesto may need more lemon or more oil, just taste and add accordingly! Keep refrigerated in a closed container for 1-2 weeks or freeze! Enjoy!