Wednesday, April 9, 2008

6 Other Ways to Enjoy Pesto

The title introduces
other ways since I've already covered my most common pesto preparation, Chicken Pesto Pasta with Haricots Verts.

On Monday I was planning to make salmon salad with pesto dressing. This fell apart when I ran out of prep time. But the dinner morphed into something we hadn’t enjoyed in awhile: roast salmon with pesto. I served it with a baby spinach salad and artichokes. It took me about 25 minutes to prepare and it was really good. Here are the components:

Roast Salmon with Pesto Sauce
Salmon – Rub with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at about 375° for 10-12 minutes. When plating, top with a spoonful of pesto and spread evenly, allowing some of the salmon to still be visible around the edges.
Steamed Artichokes
Baby Spinach Salad

Another dinner we haven't enjoyed in awhile is pesto pizza made on Alvarado Street sprouted pizza crusts. For a quick, healthy meal make a half batch of pesto (per one pizza crust), top with mozzarella and bake at 450° for about 5-6 minutes or until mozzarella is melted. If only I could persuade Whole Foods to carry the crusts.

I make pesto fresh every time because it doesn't retain its awesomeness once it has sat in the fridge. If you want to test that opinion and refrigerate your leftovers transfer the same to a small bowl, spread to make an even surface, and cover with a generous pour of olive oil. The oil will act as an air barrier and will help retain color and flavor. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a fitting lid. The items listed below make excellent use of any leftovers:

1. Make it into a salad dressing with romaine, chicken, jicama, and lots of salad veggies. For dressing take 1/4 cup pesto and add ½ cup olive oil and 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, or more to taste.
2. Slathered crostini for an appetizer;
3. Stirred into Minestrone or other soup just before service;
4. Tossed with steamed green beans as a side dish

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