You know pesto. You know Mexico.
Wiff and I were recently in New Orleans and went to Aarón Sánchez’s restaurant, Johnny Sanchez. His food was so good and so flavorful that I was inspired to pick up one of his cookbooks, Simple Food Big Flavor.
His Cilantro Cotija Pesto recipe inspired me to swap out the Italian ingredients in my pesto recipe for Mexican ones.
This groovy green concoction es increíble [Spanish for pretty good]. It’s creamy. It’s green. It’s adorned with Nasturtium blossoms because that’s what you do in Mexico [it’s not]. It’s a Mexican-Italian inter/trans/hyper-continental Frankenstino that stretches the definition of latin love [that’s not even a thing].
And so I give you…
Use my other pesto recipe for ratios. I used one bunch of cilantro and it was enough for 8 smallish helpings of pasta.
8oz Cilantro [I was lazy and used everything except the bottom couple of inches of the bunch.]
8 garlic cloves [Put the garlic in a pan, cover with cold water, and bring it to a boil. Boiling it for 5 minutes softens the overpowering bite.]
2 cups almonds [Pumpkin seeds are more auténtico but they are ‘spensive.]
2 cups cotija cheese [Common in decent grocery stores, hispanic food marts, and every bodega in NYC]
1 1/3 cups olive oil
Lime juice, as needed [freshly squeezed, always]. Start with a tablespoon or two and adjust per your taste.
Kosher salt, as needed.
Jalapeño pepper, as needed. I removed the seeds from mine because someone [our dog] doesn’t like spicy stuff. Add a little at a time until it’s spicy enough for you.
Throw everything except the oil into a food processor.
Turn it on.
Pour in the oil.
Turn it off.