Winter is the season for leafy green vegetables, and this recipe uses some fragrant green herbs to create a pesto-like sauce that dresses up any pasta dish. Here it is mixed with barley, then apples and celery top the dish to brighten the flavor and add crisp, crunchy texture.
The key to this dish is blanching the herbs. Blanching quickly cooks the herbs, helping them to retain their color and texture. It also kills bacteria on the surface and washes them.
50 g (4 cups) Italian parsley leaves
50 g (3 cups) mint leaves
20 g (1/2 cup) chives
20 g (2 cups) basil leaves
15 g (1 1/8 cups) chervil leaves
10 g (1 Tbsp) Dijon mustard
50 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
10 g (2 tsp) white wine vinegar
90 g (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
Blanch all of the herbs in a large pot of boiling water for about 45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the herbs to an ice bath to slow down the cooking. Squeeze out the excess water and pat dry with paper towels.
Mix the mustard, vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Add the herbs and walnuts to a food processor, and while chopping, add the liquid ingredients to make a rough puree. Season to taste.
Toss the sauce verte with any pasta or grain, then top with celery and apple slices.