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Recipe: Pistou aioli with microgreens

Most of you probably don't know this, but here at Orta, we all really like to cook.  We're Orta Kitchen Garden after all, founded to help people grow more of their own at home.

As all of us are cooking more these days, we thought we'd give you some dispatches from our kitchens, for inspiration or perhaps more utilitarian ideas for eating all three meals at home.

The inspiration part is most likely to come from Nigel, Orta's production manager.  He worked as a chef in high end restaurants for 10 years before making a career shift from food to clay, and retains his skills and sense of the dramatic with food.  This first recipe comes from him.

Finished microgreen pistou
This is a very simple recipe. It's a spin on a traditional sauce called pistou.  Pistou is like pesto, without nuts or cheese. Traditionally, it would be made in a mortar and pestle, but I use a blender. If you have a food processor, that works well too. 

Aioli is basically mayonnaise with garlic, so we're just going to make the pistou, and add it to some mayo. 

If you don't have a blender or a mortar and pestle, it can be done by chopping all the ingredients very finely, and then muddling it in a mixing bowl.

For this pistou, we're using arugula microgreens to make a more intensely flavored sauce extra packed with nutrients.  It's a delicious, luxurious, pick-me-up to brighten these strange days.  (If you wanted it to be a bit more traditional, you could make it with basil microgreens.) 

arugula microgreens
I grew my sprouts in Orta's Large microgreen planter, and I let them grow pretty tall.  So I ended up with about two cups of sprouts (not packed).  You can adjust the recipe up or down depending on how many greens you have.

Ingredients for arugula microgreen pistou
Okay, so here are the ingredients we're going to use:

2 cups Arugula microgreens
3 tbl olive oil
1 small clove of garlic
3 tbl mayo 
Salt - to taste

If you're unfamiliar with what I mean when I say "to taste", that means make the recipe, taste, and sprinkle in salt as needed.  I recommend this for most recipes as people's taste can vary widely in how much salt they like or can taste.  A good rule is to start with less than you think you need - you can always add more.  

1. In your blender, combine the microgreens, garlic, and half the oil. 

2. Begin blending on low, and slowly speed it up.  As it makes a puree, add the rest of the oil.

3. Once you have a nice puree, transfer it from the blender to a small bowl.  Add the mayo and mix together.  Add salt to taste. 

And that's it!  You could use it on a sandwich but I like it best as a dipping sauce for fries or roasted potatoes.
This pistou is a little garlic heavy, which is why I made an aioli.  But by itself (without the mayo), it makes a great marinade for chicken or pork- when the garlic cooks it will be less intense.  

If you don't have mayo, and don't want to make a marinade, cut the amount of garlic in half, and use the pistou as an intensely flavored, nutrient dense, accent sauce for sandwiches, soups, potatoes, or whatever needs a bit of a boost.

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