Still in Guatemala, so i just made this up based on what I could find. There is this really nice little grocery store on our block (a safe distance for me to walk alone) and I was struck by how cheap basil was – 18 Quetzals for a big, healthy bunch (about $2.30). It was also the first time I had seen a good looking baguette in a grocery store here (VERY exciting). So the crostini just kind of happened. This pesto recipe is the result of working with extremely limited kitchen tools and supplies, but came out really well because the basil was so good. The radish adds a nice crunch and pepper flavor.
- 4 C basil leaves, washed super well
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 (?) C almonds
- 1/4 C evoo
- 2 T lime juice
- 2 T Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 t sea salt
- 1/4 t fresh ground pepper
- toast the almonds on the stove. medium to medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes. stir occasionally so as not to burn them!
- pulse toasted almonds in food processor until they are finely chopped.
- add whole garlic and process until the garlic is all chopped up. Then add oil then basil and process until the basil is all chopped.
- stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- Set the oven to broiler.
- Slice baguette into 1/4″ to 3/8″ slices and arrange as many as you can fit on a baking sheet. Our oven is so tiny that I did batches on the little pan that comes in your toaster-oven. Yeah.
- Brush with evoo. Since of course I didn’t have a brush, I dipped a fork in a glass of evoo and spread that over the slices. You really don’t want too much olive oil on the bread, just enough to make them golden.
- Toast in the oven for about 4 minutes.
* Optional – slice a clove of garlic in half and rub on the toasts, either before baking or right after they come out. This is good if you like garlic as much as I do.
- 5 – 6 radishes, thoroughly washed and sliced as thin as possible
- spread a tablespoon of pesto on each toast, then top with a few radish slices. Done.
Now that I am back to bread-baking, I’ve realized that our old faithful recipe has yielded something like a ciabatta consistency dough. It is important that the dough be just on the stickier side of the sticky / tacky spectrum. It is tempting to add too much flour when kneading in order to make the dough easier to handle, but aim instead for a dough that is slightly sticky and pliable. When we’re feeling really good about the dough, we make this sauce recipe with san marzano tomatoes.
I love looking back to see how far we’ve come with our pizza skills!
- 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
- 2 t sugar
- 1/2 t instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 1/2 cups ice water
- 1 T vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
- 1 1/2 t table salt
- In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.
- Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of the bowl, 30 – 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. (We aim to make the dough 2 days before using it for best results.)
I borrowed my mother in law’s copy of The New Best Recipe and have fallen in love with it. The authors of the book test different recipes and techniques in their kitchens and publish the ‘best one’, giving detailed reasons for why it was selected and alternative methods/ tools you can use. I am looking forward to making many, many more recipes from this book in the future!
‘classic (basil) pesto’
- 2 C fresh basil (packed)
- 1/4 C pine or walnuts
- 7 T olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 2 T fresh parsley
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese
- heat a heavy skillet on high and toast the nuts for 3-4 minutes, or until pine nuts are well browned.
- put nuts aside in a bowl and add garlic to the skillet. Toast for 5-7 min or until the outside starts to brown and garlic is fragrant (i got nervous here and pulled the garlic off the stove at 3 minutes – i wish i had left it on for the full time).
- Place herbs in a heavy duty plastic bag and pound with a meat clever to release the juices (this was my favorite part about this pesto).
- combine pounded herbs, toasted nuts and garlic, oil, and salt in food processor and pulse until smooth.
- transfer the pesto to a bowl, stir in cheese and serve.