This is the best thing I know to do with mint beyond Julep.
I've stolen - uh, adapted - the recipe from Bon Appetit / Epicurious (March 2004) - and will also note that the recipe looks a lot like Zov Karamardian's version from Zov's Bistro in Tustin, CA. The pesto is delicious to stand up on its own, served as a spread or dip with pita chips. I've strayed from both the Epicurious and Bistro recipes - using the pesto as a marinade for the shrimp. The rich coating not only imparts a wonderful flavor to the seafood, it also seals it in the grilling process - with the most succulent results!
Unless you have it growing in summer abundance in your garden, using rosemary sprigs as skewers may be a bit of an extravagance. But served up as appetizers, the dish makes quite a splash. The recipe below includes calamari steak for a more substantial main course. I've altered the ingredients in the pesto- foregoing jalapeño from the Epicurious version, adding an extra measure garlic and lime juice. —Vivian Henoch
4 (or appetizers for 8)
uncooked shrimp (about 24) peeled and deveined
calamari steaks (about 3/4 pounds) cut into strips
extra-virgin olive oil
grated Parmesan cheese
fresh lime juice
fresh mint leaves
fresh ground pepper to taste
inch-long woody rosemary springs for skewers (optional)
In This Recipe
For mint pesto: in a processor, combine oil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts and lime juice and pulse (using on/off switch) until the mixture is smooth. Add mint leaves and process until pesto is well blended. (Makes about 3/4 cup)
In a bowl toss raw shrimp and calamari with about a 1/4 cup of the pesto, until seafood is evenly coated. Refrigerate up to two hours.
Heat grill pan or prepare outdoor grill for medium high heat. Grill shrimp until they are pink and just opaque in the center - no more than two minutes. Repeat process for calamari strips.
If desired; toss cooked seafood in additional pesto; skewer shrimp on rosemary sprigs and serve. Or simply mound seafood on a platter and garnish with mint leaves and rosemary