Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the lemons in half and pick out the seeds
and discard. Lightly coat the lemons with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place lemons cut side down in a
baking dish and roast, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let
lemons cool; discard any juice and oil from the bottom of the baking dish.
Once the roasted lemons are cool, cut off ends of the lemons and then cut the lemons into a small 1/4-inch dice (make
sure you capture and save all the pulp and juice that comes out of the lemons as
you dice them). NOTE: I find it easier to cut the lemons
into thin strips and then cut into the small dice.
In a bowl, combine the lemons (with juice and pulp),
the remaining olive oil, shallots, sugar, and salt; stir gently. Cover and
set aside for at least 3 hours so the flavors can marry and mellow.
NOTE: Initially, the lemons may seem harsh or bitter,
but as they sit, their flavor changes markedly. Taste a couple of times
throughout the rest period, and you'll start tasting the difference.
Place lemon salsa mixture in the food processor. Add basil pesto and process on grind setting (stopping and
stirring mixture a few times). Adjust seasonings with additional salt, pepper, and
additional lemon juice (if desired).
Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Yield: 1 1/2 cups.