Kombu, a green kelp that’s sold in dried, leathery sheets, is a basic building block of Japanese dashi. We’ve been using it to make a full-bodied vegetarian stock (see “How to Think About Vegetables,” page 36) but hated the idea of throwing it out post-simmer. That got us thinking: Why not use it in a pesto?
Soaked or cooked kombu blends easily into a silky sauce and plays well with any combination of pestofriendly aromatics (citrus zests, garlic, chiles), herbs, and nuts. The slightly briny pesto is perfectly suited to light seafod dishes and is more likely than herb pestos to keep its bright green hue when hit with the heat from grilled meats or steaming bowls of pasta. Kombu pesto will keep in the fridge for days, which is good news as you’ll find plenty of uses for it: salads, vegetable hashes, slathered on burgers, or tossed with roasted or steamed vegetables. Add a heap of pesto-dredged greens to kombu broth for a soupe au pistou of the sea. —K.M.