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Friday, January 22, 2010

In the process of cleaning out my fridge, I found a variety of things to toss together into a salad along with some lovely fresh basil leaves from Blessed Glutz, the only person I know who has successfully propagated this herb in her garden. My own attempt at growing basil in a pot on my apartment balcony failed and still has me crying over a container of spilled soil, so I'm really happy for her and hope her plant thrives. Considering that the origins of basil can be traced back to tropical Asia, I am an embarrassment to my roots.

Serves 2
2 tablespoons coriander pesto (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons yoghurt (preferably strained)
1-1½ tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (made or bought)
2 cooked chicken breasts or thighs, torn into bite-sized pieces*
1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2 cups torn salad leaves, washed and dried
½ cup cashew nuts, toasted
  • Stir coriander pesto, yoghurt and chilli sauce together. Combine chicken, basil and salad leaves (romained is used in this dish) in a large bowl; toss with the dressing and sprinkle with cashew nuts before serving.
* Croutons make a nice crunchy addition to this salad, especially if you don't have enough leftover chicken. Cut stale country-style bread (not the common sliced bread, please!) into 2cm cubes and fry briefly in a little oil until toasted. For non-meat eaters, use only bread cubes as in a panzanella. They soak up the dressing very well.

Coriander Pesto
Makes 1 cup
This is just one version of pesto. Use a different cheese, nut or oil as you desire.
2 cups fresh coriander with stems, washed and dried
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup peanuts, toasted
¼ cup Cheddar cheese
½ cup sunflower or corn oil, approximate
Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Place all the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Turn on the machine and trickle in the oil until mixture is a smooth, thick emulsion with a creamy green colour (you may not need to add all the oil). Use immediately or store in the refrigerator ­­– place pesto in a clean bottle and pour a thin layer of oil on the top to preserve it. Use within a week.

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