I first encountered pistou in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 2.
Pistou, a Provençal purée of fresh garlic and basil, is stirred into sautéed aubergines that have simmered with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, making a dish reminiscent of that famous Mediterranean medley, ratatouille, but much easier to produce.
It’s only easier to produce because Child’s recipe for ratatouille is so unnecessarily complicated and involved. Pistouille, for decent ordinary people, is simply ratatouille served with pistou sauce. Traditionally, pistou is made with olive oil and that recipe can be found with a simple Google search. This variation was taught to me by a Niçoise man by the name of JR who I met while traveling.
Use this sauce to dress up your go to meals. If you’re in a rush, you can prepare it in the time it takes to cook pasta. It also goes well with grilled vegetables, steamed broccoli, bread, crackers, the list goes on. The only catch is that you need a pestle and mortar, but I’ve made do with a large handled wooden rolling pin and a bowl.
1 small clove garlic peeled
1 bunch basil washed
1 pinch sea salt
½ tub crème fraîche approximately 100ml
Add to mortar: 1 pinch sea salt, 1 clove garlic. Bash to a paste with pestle. Add 1 bunch basil. Bash to a paste. Stir in ½ tub crème fraîche. Serve.
Thanks to Weronika Bachleda Baca for the photographs.