Blanche the basil leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds and refresh in iced water. Drain the basil and dry on a clean tea towel to absorb any excess water. Blend together the pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese in a food processor until it is a fine mix. Add the basil and continue to blend. Pour in the oil in a steady stream until it becomes a smooth puree. Season to taste with salt, freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Store the pesto in an airtight parfait jar. Cover the pesto with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil to avoid discolouration and refrigerate.
The ratio of pine nuts and garlic to basil in this recipe is deliberately high as the flavours will be diluted when mixed through the potato for the Swordfish Nicoise dish. If making pesto for another purpose, reduce both pine nuts and garlic to taste.
© 2005 Liam Tomlin. All rights reserved.