Corn Pesto Recipe
INSPIRED BY SOUTH AFRICA
Corn dominates South African cuisine. It’s seen everywhere from a porridge called mealie pap to a salad made of maize meal. South Africans even have their own name for corn, mealies, and it’s the most important grain crop in the country’s economy.
Maize was brought to the African continent at the start of the 16th century. But it wasn’t until 1655 that the crop arrived in South Africa. Not long afterwards, corn took on its important role throughout the nation.
SAVE FOR LATER
Makes 1 1/4 cups
2 ears of raw corn, kernels removed (or 2 cups canned corn)
1 cup loosely packed fresh chervil (or curly parsley)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until the desired consistency forms.
If using a mortar and pestle, mash the corn, chervil, and garlic until smooth. Mix in the butter and salt. Mash until the desired consistency forms.
Store pesto in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for up to one week. Use throughout the week in the next two recipes. Pesto can last in an airtight container in the freezer for up to six months.
Both corn and sorghum are among South Africa’s top five grain crops. Sorghum, a grain indigenous to Africa, is used in porridge, bread, beer, and livestock feed. The cereal can thrive on marginal land and in drier conditions, making it a reliable crop in many areas throughout Africa.
South African mealie pap, or sometimes mealie-meal, is a porridge similar to polenta or grits. It’s coarsely ground maize that’s cooked on the stovetop. Many people in South Africa eat it for breakfast with sugar and milk, or with syrup and butter. It can also be made savory.