Spicy Parsley-Scallion Pesto

In the Phong Nha region of Vietnam, they serve a spicy green sauce with BBQ pork.  Ingredients include Vietnamese coriander, garlic, lemon leaves, lemon zest, hot pepper and sugar.  Its spicy and sweet: a perfect combination.

I wanted to recreate the flavors but didn’t have access to lemon leaves.  And since I had a ton of parsley and scallions on hand, I came up with this version.  It packs a big punch, so you won’t need that much.  As a plus, this can be made in advance and keeps for days in the refrigerator.  Serve it with pork and meat dishes, but it’s also great on fish.

IMG_2104Spicy Parsley-Scallion Pesto
Makes about 1 cup.

1 large clove of garlic
A handful of parsley
6 scallions
1/2 a jalapeno
1 Meyer lemon
1 tbsp of ginger
1 tbsp of agave syrup (or honey)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Place the garlic and parsley in the food processor.

IMG_2089Chop.  Then add the scallions and jalapeno (mine happened to be orange).

IMG_2090Squeeze all the juice from the lemon into the mixture.  Add a little lemon zest too.  Toss in the ginger and agave.  Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it.  Blend well.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

I tested it with the pan-roasted skate I posted earlier.

Pesto on top

Pesto on top

But it was even better with Asian-style grilled ribs!


Asian Ribs with fiddlehead fern risotto. Spicy sauce on the side.


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