Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto - Red Shiso and Sweet Basil

Red Shiso plant in the foreground
One of my good friends gave me a Red Shiso plant which grew very nicely. The plant, although still very young, had large leaves ready for harvesting. I had never tasted this herb prior to today. The taste is very pleasant, like a combination basil and mint. I understand the red shiso leaves are used to give umeboshi its distinct color and flavor.

Red Shiso leaves

Italian Sweet Basil leaves

I planned on making pesto today. Since learning more about the shiso plant, I knew that the leaves needed to be harvested before it is too late. I thought it may be a welcome addition to my regular pesto sauce, usually made with sweet basil leaves. So today, I just added the shiso leaves I picked along with the basil leaves.
Pesto Sauce with Basil and Red Shiso

The taste was very good! I hope to try other recipes for red shiso, like pesto without the basil to see how that will turn out. But for today, I thought I would play it safe and just introduce a few leaves into the pesto sauce. I also made fresh pasta today and I think that will go very well with this new pesto sauce.

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