Pairing familiar foods in unfamiliar ways can have surprising yet rewarding outcomes, as this mint pesto and fingerling potatoes dish demonstrates.
Most people might think of lamb as the classic accompaniment to mint, and pesto as the proper destination for basil. Don’t let such received notions limit you. It turns out mint also makes a fine pesto that goes just as well with potatoes and peas as meat (Basil with lamb is an experiment that will have to wait for another day). We’re using fingerling potatoes because, like pesto, it's adaptive and versatile.
2 tbsp nuts (walnuts, pecans, macadamias), chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut in halves
1 cup fresh peas
To make pesto, puree all ingredients except potatoes and peas in a blender until smooth. Keep one half for now, and freeze the other half for another time. (You will need to make at least this much pesto for it to blend well.) Boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain and toss with pesto while potatoes are still hot. Boil peas, drain, and toss with the potato mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.