I had what looked like an abundance of basil growing in a flower box by a window sill. I decided to try my hand at making pesto. I found a recipe by Martha Stewart and gave that a shot. My “abundance” of basil was not enough for a full batch, so I cut the recipe in half. Sadly, the results were very bland. (Sorry, Martha!) I wasn’t ready to give up, so I played around with it until I achieved the flavor I was going for. The truth is, I really like the pesto sold by Buitoni, so that’s pretty much what I was going for.
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 4 cups basil, loosely packed (about 2 ounces)
- 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Salmon filets, 1 per serving, as big as you’d like
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto per filet
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pine nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden and fragrant, tossing once, about 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil. Add basil and submerge for a second or two. Immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Pat basil completely dry with paper towels.
- In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, garlic and parmesan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube. Process until smooth. Use immediately or freeze.
- The pesto can be kept frozen up to 6 months. If you freeze it in small quantities (Martha suggests using an ice cube tray) it will thaw very quickly at room temperature. I had about 6 “cubes” worth in a sandwich bag, and they were ready to use in about 15 minutes. Just smoosh the pesto around in the bag to reincorporate the oil.
- Makes about 1 cup, or 8 servings of 2 tablespoons each.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Arrange the salmon, skin side down, on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread each filet generously with pesto. Bake for 20 minutes, until salmon is light pink and flaky.