Walnut, Herb, and Anchovy Sauce

By Selma | Selma's Table
February 25, 2014
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Author Notes: I came across this recipe, which originates in Puglia, in an early 90?s copy of Elle Decoration -- a magazine I adored. The issue is long gone, but I have never forgotten how wonderful this sauce tasted. I can remember feeling genuinely surprised that something so simple and uncooked could have such depth of flavor. I have the anchovies to thank there. When blended like this, they have no fishy odor or taste -- they simply add a deep, satisfying undertone to a bright and summery sauce.Selma | Selma's Table

Food52 Review: This rich, ultra-savory pesto effortlessly brightens up grilled vegetables, bean burgers, grilled or baked tofu, any kind of chicken or fish, and just about anything you'd put in a wrap. If you're worried about all those uncooked anchovies, don't be -- the roasted walnuts tone them down nicely. I expect to make this sauce often in the coming months. Great recipe!AntoniaJames

Serves: 6 to 8

  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 6 anchovies, preserved in oil
  • 100 grams flat leaf parsley, including the stems
  • 40 grams basil leaves
  • 40 grams mint leaves
  • 20 grams tarragon leaves
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  1. Whiz the toasted nuts in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the anchovies, herbs, garlic, shallot, and water, and pulse until the mixture becomes a coarse purée.
  2. Add the olive oil and whiz until combined. Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  3. Taste and adjust the flavor, stirring in additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper to make the sauce sing.
  4. This sauce would be delicious slathered on fish or lamb, or tossed into hot pasta and finished with a drizzle of good extra-virgin olive oil.

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