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Sauced: Cilantro Pesto

When making basil pesto, I just kept thinking about all the possible pesto variations. But since cilantro is my favorite herb, it was the natural next step on what will become a deep pesto exploration.

Staying true to my basil recipe that has worked so well, I went down the ingredient list and made fitting substitutions to complement the flavor of cilantro—pine nuts became pumpkin seeds and Parmesan was replaced with cotija. I added a serrano pepper for just a bit of heat and lime juice to for a fresh acidity.

What came together went beyond my expectations and made a pesto that I would take over basil almost any day.

The distinct freshness of the cilantro paired with the saltiness of the cotija were the two dominate flavors, but the background notes had a little nuttiness, a garlic bite, and a faint heat. A very layered pesto. I couldn't wait to use it, so I quickly grilled up a skirt steak, spread on the cilantro pesto, and was in heaven.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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