This dish came about, like so much of what transpires here in the PK, because it was the obvious thing to do: Driving home with my eldest daughter, we stopped by the small but exceptional Tuesday market. We had very little time and were already behind schedule for dinner, so prep time had to be short. And, of course, the ultimate test for any kids' meal: Would the little monsters actually eat whatever I put in front of them?
Pistou is seriously good stuff. Made in minutes, from very few (and entirely raw) ingredients, it turns a vegetable soup transcendent, transforms pasta from simple to sublime, and, perhaps less conventionally but no less successfully, it works wonders with certain seafood. The problem is, unlike in the case of its far more famous (and near-mystical-when-done-properly) cousin, pesto, there seems to be no clear agreement on what actually constitutes a true pistou.
Anthony Bourdain once wrote - I believe I'm paraphrasing Kitchen Confidential, but I can't find the citation - that anyone who cooks with pre-minced garlic should be sentenced never to taste fresh garlic again, and I have to agree: I adore garlic, but the stuff in the jar is just plain nasty and, unfortunately, it is all over the inexplicably famous Garlic Fries at AT&T Park.
Coaching basketball at the professional level, managing a United Nations peace-keeping mission, and getting kids to eat something for the first time - a category generally construed to mean anything with so much as a twig of the family tree in the Vegetable Kingdom, but often including everything not already vetted and approved via previous personal experience (a logical circularity seemingly lost on my own children) - all depend as much on the application of politics as of force: