pesto

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Pesto Baked Salmon

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Of all the recipe requests I receive, it seems like salmon is that one dish that people get bored of rather quickly – me included. I’ve had my fill of honey mustard salmon, I’d rather not look at another piece of teriyaki salmon, and I’m all magic-salmoned-out. The good news is, I’ve got an endless variety of salmon ideas, so I can always pick something from under my chef’s hat (figuratively speaking, of course).

Truth be told, I’m really not the biggest fish person altogether. I won’t touch tilapia (bottom feeders freak me out), I don’t like sole, and I usually stay away from gefilte (is that even considered fish?). I tend to lean towards salmon, flounder, red snapper or seabass, when available. I’ve always wanted to try different types of fish, but they’re not readily available where I live. I’ve had whole bronzino in restaurants and halibut at my mom’s (she loves it!), but I’ve never tried grouper or mahimahi. Arctic Char is one of the best pieces of fish I’ve ever tried – I would love to find a place that carries it!

I’ve always wanted to bake my own whole fish stuffed with lemon and herbs – better yet, catch and fillet it myself. It’s just another one of those things on my bucket list – and I hope to do it one day. I’ve heard that the taste of freshly caught fish doesn’t compare to what we buy at the fishmonger. I can just imagine it smelling of the ocean istead of, well, fish. Don’t you just hate it when you open up a package and a fishy stench just hits you like a fishing rod!?

Back to the salmon – since it’s one of the few types of fish that I eat, I’m always coming up with new ways to eat it. This pesto-smothered-recipe came to me when I was on the South Beach diet and I needed to stay away from sweet sauces and sugar. For added crunch (without the panko carbs), I grind up some nuts (whichever nuts are in the pesto) and sprinkle it over the top. It adds great texture to the salmon!

Related recipes:

spinach, walnut and cheddar pesto
marcona almond & basil pesto
salmon pasta salad
salmon cakes with yogurt sauce

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Marcona Almond Pesto

Monday, May 5th, 2014

You gotta love the way our bodies work. We are born with more than 10,000 taste buds that are housed inside papillae — those bumps you see at the back of your tongue. Inside those buds are tons of taste cells that detect what you’re eating and send that information to your brain. As we age, our taste buds become less sensitive, so the foods that we once found unappealing, don’t send as many strong signals to our brains. That’s why, as we get older, our palates change and we discover a newfound love for foods we may have hated during our childhood.

Over the last few years, I’ve taken a “leap of food” and dived right into the foods that I used to stay away from. I discovered a taste for fresh ginger, creamy mayonaisse, artichokes, and pesto. Of course there are still foods that I won’t touch with a 10-foot-pole like liver (or any offal), cilantro, fennel, and pattypan squash, but I’m coming around.

Once I really began to appreciate pesto, I went all out with different flavor combinations. I’ve tried spinach, walnut & cheddar, garlic scape, parsley pistachio (hope to blog that one soon!) and of course the classic basil & pine nut. But marcona almond pesto is by far my favorite. If you’ve never heard of Marcona almonds, they are native to Spain and are rounder and more plump than traditional California almonds that we’re used to. Their higher fat content gives them an unsurpassed taste and texture. In pesto, they add an amazing butteriness that is unmatched by any ingredient.

With the holiday of Shavuos coming up in a few weeks, I’ll be making the most of dairy recipes! Stay tuned for fun ways to use pesto as well as other fabulous milky creations!


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

spinach, walnut & cheddar pesto
pesto pinwheels
pesto & goat cheese crostini

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How to Make Pesto
Spinach, Walnut & Cheddar Pesto

Monday, May 14th, 2012


With Shavuous just two weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to do a little tutorial on making pesto. I’m sure most of you have either tasted it or have at least seen it on a restaurant menu. The popular green sauce is traditionally made from a mixture of basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Pesto is surprisingly easy to prepare, as well as delicious and versatile. It can be used as a sauce for fish and pasta or as a spread over crackers and bread. It makes the perfect addition to your Shavuous menu.

Because pesto is a sauce made from raw ingredients, it’s important to use those that are fresh and good quality. Fresh garlic (no frozen garlic cubes!), herbs and extra virgin olive oil are a must! It is also a good idea to toast your nuts beforehand as it brings out their natural oils and intensifies their flavor.

While pesto is usually made from basil, pine nuts and parmesan, you can make pesto using a combination of any greens, nuts and cheeses. The basic components of any pesto include the following:

fresh leafy greens (basil, spinach, arugula) or herbs (parsley, mint, cilantro)  or mixed
nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachios)
cheese (parmesan, romano, cheddar  or any dry, hard cheese)
acid (lemon, lime, red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar)
oil (extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed, walnut, hazelnut)
seasoning (fresh garlic, salt, pepper)

Once you have your ingredients, the pesto can be prepared by hand, using a mortar and pestle, or with a food processor or blender.

Basic Pesto Measurements:

3 cups packed fresh leafy greens
½ cup toasted nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan (omit if making nondairy)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3-1 cup extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Pesto Tips & Tricks:

* If you toast your nuts before using (it’s worth the extra step), make sure to cool them off before adding them to the food processor. Otherwise, the heat from the nuts will start to melt the cheese and your pesto will turn gummy.

* To keep your pesto from turning black in the fridge, cover it with an inch of olive oil. Just pour off the excess oil before serving.

* Leftover pesto can be frozen for future use. Just pour pesto into an ice cube tray for individual servings. Once it’s frozen, add the cubes to a ziploc bag.

What are some of your favorite pesto combinations? Share them with me in the comments below!

 

1 year ago: home-made fish sticks

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