Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Fresh Spinach "pesto" (and what to do with it)
Fresh Spinach Pesto
1/2 cup slivered almonds
4 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
2 ounces freshly shredded parmesan or romano cheese
1 large garlic scape, chopped OR 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds for about 5 minutes, until they just begin to turn lightly brown and smell fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then layer the nuts, spinach, cheese and garlic in a blender or food processor. Drizzle in enough oil to allow easy blending but not soupiness (about 1/4-1/3 cup), and pulse the blender or food processor several times until everything is finely chopped and well blended but still has some texture. Add kosher salt and coarse pepper to taste. Chill until ready to eat.
To make this dish, I doused two chicken breasts, a couple of cups of grape tomatoes, and two red peppers that were quartered and cored in balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I like Newman's Own brand when I'm too lazy to make a batch myself. I grilled the chicken, basting it with more dressing a couple of times during cooking, and added the peppers to the grill skin side down for the last 5 or so minutes of grill time. Meanwhile, I cooked up half a package of linguine. Once the chicken and peppers were done, I removed them to cut into thin slices, then dumped the tomatoes on to the hot grill. They softened up within 30 seconds and got a few nice little char marks. I removed them right away. I drained, then dumped the pasta into a large serving bowl, stirred the pesto in thoroughly, then added the tomatoes, peppers, chicken and a handful of julienned basil leaves and carefully stirred it all together. I finished it off with a dusting of finely shredded parmesan cheese and it was a delicious summertime supper that everyone devoured (except for my almost 4 year old, but her opinion doesn't count on these sorts of things).